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Black Radishes (Black Radishes)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  854 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
Sydney Taylor Honor Award Winner Black Radishes is asuspenseful WWII/Holocaust story, in which one boy learns what it means to be Jewish and French at a time when everything is changing.

Gustave doesn't want to move from the exciting city to the boring countryside, far from his cousin Jean-Paul and his best friend, the mischievous Marcel. But he has no choice. It is March o
Paperback, 240 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Yearling (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30)
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Apr 15, 2013 Bethany rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the integration of the French language into the dialogue. This would be a great book for a child who is learning French.
Margo Tanenbaum
This debut novel by Susan Lynn Meyer was inspired by her own father's experience as a young Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied France. The novel opens in March, 1940, as all Paris prepares for the possibility of war with Nazi Germany. Even the Eiffel Tower has been specially prepared--covered with a layer of dirty gray camouflage paint to disguise it from Nazi bombers. And as the Nazis get ever closer to France, conquering one country after another, anti-Semitism becomes more evident, as well. Young Gu ...more
L.B. Schulman
Jun 20, 2013 L.B. Schulman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved Black Radishes. The main character, Gustave, was very much a normal little boy born in extraordinary and tragic circumstances. I really liked how the author wrote Gustave as a kid who doesn't quite see the real picture of what is happening to his country. He slowly realizes the depth of evil that has gripped France. When he is separated from his cousin and best friend, he begins to realize how ugly the war has become. Through his cleverness, he comes up with solutions that seem heroic an ...more
Oct 26, 2011 Michele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great historical fiction about a French Jewish boy who moves out of Paris to live in the countryside during the Nazi occupation of WWII. It is really written at a level in which children can understand. The main character, Gustave, is initially upset about things like having to miss out on the Boy Scouts' award, but as the story progresses he understands the gravity of his situation and is able to do simple and yet serious work for the French Resistance. The book is written in a child's voice, w ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, j, history
Of late I have had lots of teachers looking for upbeat but realistic WWII stories to go along with their studies of Anne Frank or Number the Stars. This one fills that slot neatly and in a shorter book (always a request). Concealing his Jewish identity, helping out the resistance, and helping save his own family, Gustave's adventures fill Black Radishes with action and historical information as well.
Anne Broyles
Jun 18, 2011 Anne Broyles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Drawing from her own father's World War Two experience, Meyer tells the story of eleven-year-old Gustave Becker, a French Jew caught in the crosshairs of Hitler's hellish vision for an Aryan Europe. Readers feel Gustave's confusion, his attempts to maintain order in his life (I love how he paints a map of Europe with red to signify the Nazis' takeover of nation after nation), and ultimately, his courage in a difficult time. I'm looking forward to a sequel...
Ms. Palubicki
I enjoyed this book mostly because it was about yet another aspect of WWII that I don't know much about. It was unique to read about living near an occupied zone and the constant fear of being free, but not really. This was a fast read.
Lisa Zink
Jan 28, 2013 Lisa Zink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everytime I read another Holocaust book I say "no more" but I am glad I read this, as uplifting as a book on the subject can be. After all, we are all just people, right?
Lorraine Stinson
Feb 16, 2012 Lorraine Stinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Baugh
Sep 12, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-war-2
Black Radishes is another book that is based on the experiences of someone in the author's family during World War II. This kind of reality-based historical fiction often makes for an exciting, suspenseful story and Black Radishes is no exception. According to the author's note, Susan Lynn Meyer's father, grandmother and aunt were able to escape from France after its occupation by the Nazis, so she had lots of first hand material to create this stirring novel.

Black Radishes story begins in Paris
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ally Brown
Oct 03, 2016 Ally Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful book. I had never read anything set in France during WWII, but the perspective of this Jewish French boy is fascinating...and sad. Very well written and a quick read. Highly recommended.
Camille Tesch
Ages 10-12
Nathaniel Y.
Book Title: Black Radishes

# of pages: 228

Author: Susan Lynn Meyer

Genre: Historical Fiction

This book is about a French boy named Gustave. Gustave lives in Paris and his two best friends are Marcel and Jean-Paul. He is Jewish and the time period is World War II. One day he was returning from his boy scout group and sees written in chalk on the street, "France for the French! Jews out of France!" Then he returns home and finds out that he and his family are leaving Paris within the week! They move
Rhondda Powling
Apr 15, 2015 Rhondda Powling rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war
In Black Radishes the author has managed a good balance of historical facts and imaginative story as she depicts the daily life of an ordinary Jewish family in France in the early days of World War II. Gustave Becker, the young main character, is well-written and likeable. The novel offers the reader insight into some less known World War Two stories and perspectives.
The story is begins in Paris, in the spring of 1940, when the threat of invasion by German troops seems immanent. We see the even
Dec 01, 2013 Ruben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

WW2, worst times in the 40's, especially for the Jewish. This book is historical fiction. This book was just wonderful!
Have you ever wondered how life was for the Jewish during the Holocaust? For Gustave his life changed! He was forced to move in the countryside with his family while his cousins stay in Paris. He's lonely and doesn't have anyfriends until he meets Nicole. She is part of the French Rebellion, who help Jewish out of the occupied zones and into the demarcation line so they can l
Emily Maurer
The book Black Radishes is written by Susan Meyer. Black Radishes is a book about a Jewish boy and his family during the Second World War. The book starts in Paris, France with Gustave and his family before the Germans take over France. Gustave is best friends with the characters Marcel and Jean-Paul. Both Gustave and his friends are Jewish. Jean-Paul is also Gustave's cousin. When the Germans begin to invade France, Gustave and his family move to the country where they think they will be more s ...more
Amanda Shook
Mar 31, 2015 Amanda Shook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Black Radishes is about Guestave Becker, a Jewish boy during the time of discrimination called the Holocaust. Guestave and his family flee from Paris in hopes of escaping the discrimination against Jews and the Nazi soldiers that will soon take over France.

I liked the characters in this book. Guestave and his family are motivated to leave France and Europe to escape from the rule of the Germans. They also want to get Guestave's aunt and two cousins out of occupied Paris. The characters were pret
Feb 15, 2013 Beverly rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 10-13 year olds
Recommended to Beverly by: Indie Next List/
Black Radishes is a WWII historical fiction with a twist. Gustave and his family live in Paris. At first they think France is too strong militarily and too committed to liberty politically to succumb to the German army. Gustave believes in the French motto, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity," and he believes all of the French people do too, so he is shocked when he experiences violent anti-semitism, and the French army is quickly defeated by the Germans. Gustave and his family escape to the country ...more
Jose Penuelas
Apr 20, 2016 Jose Penuelas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2012 Andy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 3-star
Despite the abundance of historical fiction for children that deals with the subject of World War II, Meyer manages to offer a unique perspective of Jews living in France during the early 1940s when Germany invades. A country that prides itself on the values of liberty, equality, and justice soon cedes to the Germans and finds itself divided into occupied and unoccupied zones. During this tumultuous time just prior to occupation, eleven-year-old Gustave and his parents decide to leave their Pari ...more
Linda Lipko
Jun 17, 2011 Linda Lipko rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
In the spring of 1940 the people of France naively believe that they will be safe from German invasion. As Hitler conquers surrounding nations, Gustave Becker's family knows that it is not safe for Jews. Entreating their relatives to escape Paris and move to the countryside of Saint-Georges, Gustave's parents leave behind their home and business in the hope of safety while family members remain in denial and stay in Paris.

By summer of 1940, the French army is defeated. While Gustave and his fami
Mar 30, 2012 H rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-caudill
Gustave is the son of Parisian Jews, and on the eve of Nazi invasion of the city, his forward thinking parents flee to a small village in the countryside. Once the invasion begins in earnest, an attempt to flee the country fails, and the three return to the village only to discover that through chance they are just on the "right" side of the demarcation line between occupied and unoccupied France. Worried about friends and family left behind, and desperately trying to secure the affidavit that w ...more
Melody Yoo
Sep 28, 2016 Melody Yoo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by: JM

Gustave's family lived a normal life in Paris until one day his father announced that they were leaving. From the start of the war, Gustave's family knew that the Nazis hated Jews like them, so they decided to leave Paris for St. Georges-sur-cher because it was an unoccupied zone. Soon, however, they hear the Nazis are getting closer to France and when they bomb Paris, they leave for Spain. Will Gustave's family survive or will they perish?

This book was interesting because it was c
Apr 17, 2013 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: caudill-2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 25, 2011 Phoebe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Cheryl, Deborah, Valerie
Shelves: historical-ww2, juv
Gustave and his parents leave Paris for a small village just before the Nazis invade France. They hope that their safety will be ensured in a back-of-beyond, dusty little town, but they are Jewish and everyone around them is Catholic. Gustave misses his friends and his old life, and even though Saint-Georges is in the unoccupied zone, it seems that any day the Germans will discover the Jews in their midst. With family still in Paris, Gustave's family is not yet able to flee to America--but fortu ...more
An interesting glimpse into the life of a Jewish family in France as the Germans close in, occupying Paris. This was based on the story of the author's family, who ended up just across the line of unoccupied France. The bits of history mixed in about smuggling food and people over into unoccupied France were interesting, but I didn't feel like anything in this book was too new other than perhaps it's a good entry for elementary schoolers into the Holocaust, since it's written quite simply. Thoug ...more
Miss Amanda
gr 5-8 222pgs

1940-1941 Paris, France/St Georges, France. Gustave is shocked when his parents decide to leave Paris to go to the small village of St Georges. Gustave is sure that the French army can protect France from the Nazis. When the Nazis invade France, the country is divided into the occupied zone under Nazi control and the unoccuppied zone under the Vichy government. Gutave and his family are unable to find out his friends and family left behind in Paris. When they hear reports of how Fre
Aditi P.
Dec 25, 2012 Aditi P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars: This book was really amazing. It was completely unique from other WWII books I've read. This book was not told from the perspective of a Jewish person in a concentration camp, or the perspective of a German person hiding Jewish people, but from the perspective of a French-Jewish boy who never lived in the central areas of the horror, yet his life was drastically altered by all of these events. I loved this as it made it really thought provoking and it showed you how this time of terro ...more
Gustave has always considered himself French before anything else, but in the Spring of 1940 it is clear that others are seeing him as more Jewish than French. The Nazi troops are getting closer to France and anti-Semitism is rising within the country as well. His parents close their shop in Paris and move to the small town of Saint-Georges, hoping to find a safe haven in the country. When the Germans do invade, they are just on the correct side of the demarcation line, but safety is relative in ...more
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