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I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 – 4 Star Book Review

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Welcome to the February 10th stop on the blog tour for I Survived the Nazi Invasion, 1944 by Lauren Tarshis, organized by Rockstar Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for excerpts, other reviews, and a giveaway! (More on that at the end of this post.)

Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.

About the Book

I Survived: The Nazi Invasion, 1944
I Survived Book Nine
by Lauren Tarshis

Published 2 February 2021
Scholastic Inc.

Genre: MG Historical Fiction, Graphic Novel
Page Count: 112
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!

One of the darkest periods in history…

In a Jewish ghetto, Max Rosen and his sister Zena struggle to live after their father is taken away by the Nazis. With barely enough food to survive, the siblings make a daring escape from Nazi soldiers into the nearby forest.

Max and Zena are brought to a safe camp by Jewish resistance fighters. But soon, bombs are falling all around them. Can Max and Zena survive the fallout of the Nazi invasion? 

With art by Álvaro Sarraseca and text adapted by Georgia Ball, Lauren Tarshis’ beloved and acclaimed I Survived series takes on vivid new life in this explosive graphic novel edition. Publishing in simultaneous hardcover and paperback editions, the book also includes nonfiction back matter with historical photos and facts about World War II and the Holocaust.

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My Review

My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider “liking” my review on Goodreads.

I was granted complimentary review access to I Survived: The Nazi Invasion, 1944 via Edelweiss+ as part of my participation in the February 2021 blog tour for this title with Rockstar Book Tours. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.

I Survived: The Nazi Invasion, 1944 is the story of a pair of Jewish siblings during the height of Nazi power near the end of WWII. Displaced from their family, the siblings escape capture by a Nazi soldier and stumble into the helping hands of a Jewish spy farmer who has set himself up as a “friend” of the local Nazi leaders in order to help Jewish rebels without suspicion. Under his protection, they’re reunited with their aunt, now a rebel fighter, and remark on a perilous journey through the wilderness to their camp.

Although the story and characters are fictionalized, all historical elements are accurate, and this book will give an accurate impression of surviving as a Jewish person in a Nazi state in the mid-1940s. This is a graphic novel and the illustrations are beautifully done! It’s full colour and the illustrator is exceptionally skilled at drawing people and nature.

Parents, guardians and teachers should be warned that this is a wartime story told through a visual medium and as such there is blood and violence. Nothing is too excessive or gory, but we do see people getting shot, there’s blood, characters discuss the circumstances of healed scars, and dead bodies are visible on-page. It’s all tasteful, but it’s also brutally honest. Be sure that your middle-grade reader is emotionally mature enough for these images.

The dialogue included among these pages is quite good and entertaining to read, but the narrative blocks were a little more on the clunky side in my opinion. Much of it is first-person thoughts from one of the children (the brother, I believe) and often reads like dialogue, but isn’t meant to be verbalized thoughts. I’m willing to forgive this because it’s middle-grade, it does feel like the reading and comprehension level is appropriate for the target audience age group, but adults reading along with younger readers may be a little put off by this. The squared narrative blocks don’t quite read the way I expected them to based on more adult graphic novels I’ve read in the past.

Overall this is a very informative story with beautiful illustrations that should help to get kids interested in this part of history and teach them about the holocaust in a sensitive, age-appropriate way.

About the Author

LAUREN TARSHISNew York Times bestselling I Survived series (which has over 34 million copies in print!) tells stories of young people and their resilience and strength in the midst of unimaginable disasters and times of turmoil. Lauren has brought her signature warmth and exhaustive research to topics such as the battle of D-Day, the American Revolution, Hurricane Katrina, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and other world events. She lives in Connecticut with her family, and can be found online at laurentarshis.com.

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GEORGIA BALL is an author and comic writer who has been lucky enough to work on most of her favorite childhood characters. She’s written stories for Strawberry Shortcake, Frozen, Care Bears, Transformers, Littlest Pet Shop, My Little Pony, and many other popular brands. She’s the author of two historical fiction graphic novels for Osprey Publishing, and she adapted Lauren Tarshis’ I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912 and I Survived the Shark Attacks of 1916 into graphic novels for Scholastic. When she isn’t writing words, she writes code as a front-end developer for mobile advertising. Georgia is also the author of two webcomics, Follipops and Scooter and Ferret on Webtoon. She lives with her husband, her daughter, two cats, and a dog in Washington State. For more information about her recent work, visit GeorgiaBallAuthor.com.

ÁLVARO SARRASECA has worked as a magazine cartoonist and graphic novel artist. He has contributed artwork to franchises such as Dragon Age, Jurassic World, and Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica, among others. He lives in Madrid, Spain, and can be found online at alvarosarraseca.daportfolio.com.

Giveaway Alert!

3 winners will win a finished copy of I SURVIVED THE NAZI INVASION, 1944, US Only.

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Jenna is the artist/illustrator and author behind Westveil Publishing and its sub-banner platforms Jenna Gets Creative and The Westveil Archives. She live in Newfoundland, Canada with her husband, daughter, and feline overlords.

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