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Good-bye Marianne

A Story of Growing Up in Nazi Germany

by Irene N.Watts

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holocaust, europe
list price: $9.99
also available: Paperback
published: 1998
publisher: Tundra
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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Good-Bye Marianne

This unusual and compelling graphic novel, an adaptation of Irene Watts’ earlier novel of the same name, opens in Berlin during the autumn of 1938. Marianne Kohn is Jewish and is beginning to feel the tension as the Nazi regime closes in on her. Expelled from school because she is a Jewish student, she remains stuck indoors while her mother works at a local orphanage and her father is “missing.” While her mother tells her to use her time to study, she cannot help but worry about the things she witnesses happening around her. When an opening on the Kindertransporte that would take Marianne to Britain becomes available, Mrs. Kohn makes the heartbreaking decision to send Marianne, knowing that the danger surrounding them may make it impossible for mother and daughter to ever meet again. Still, Mrs. Kohn does this with hope in her heart.

While the text is compelling, the drawings are even more so. Beautifully done by Kathryn Shoemaker, the simple black and white pencil sketches evoke feelings of wistfulness and sadness. The reader feels as if they are suddenly immersed in a dark, cold and joyless world – an early December day without the promise of spring for months to come. The drawings suit the text perfectly. They are spare and simple, but command the reader’s interest.

The publisher has suggested that this book is suitable for ages 8 to 11. However, this would be a completely foreign world for most eight-year-olds, without the accompanying explanations of an adult. Among the general population, an age range of 10 to 13 would be more suitable.

This work certainly is excellent classroom and library material, and wonderful for a patient parent and child to pore through together.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Winter 2009. Volume 32 Number 1.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Good-bye Marianne

Berlin, Germany, 1938, one week after the Night of Broken Glass, is a cold place for 11- year-old Marianne Kohn to grow up. Her father has disappeared, and Marianne is expelled from school. As the Nazis tighten the noose around the Jews, her mother can no longer keep her daughter safe. Based on the 1998 novel of the same name.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2009.

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  • , Silver Birch Award for Fiction
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A heartbreaking story of loss and love.

As autumn turns toward winter in 1938 Berlin, life for Marianne Kohn, a young Jewish girl, begins to crumble. First there was the burning of the neighbourhood shops. Then her father, a mild-mannered bookseller, must leave the family and go into hiding. No longer allowed to go to school or even sit in a café, Marianne’s only comfort is her beloved mother. Things are bad, but could they get even worse? Based on true events, this fictional account of hatred and racism speaks volumes about both history and human nature.

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Contributor notes

Born in Berlin, Germany, Irene Watts was sent to Britain on a kindertransport. Now living in Canada, she is a writer, award-winning playwright, and director who has worked in Canada and Europe in theatre for young audiences.

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Editorial Review

“Watts’s book . . . succeeds because it leaves readers wanting urgently to know what happened next.” — Quill and Quire

“. . . an extremely poignant and moving account . . .”
Winnipeg Free Press

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