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Black Radishes (Black Radishes)

3.89  ·  Rating Details ·  823 Ratings  ·  123 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.

It is March of 1940. The French believe that their army can protect them from Nazi Germany. But is Paris a safe place for Jews? Gustave’s parents don’t think so. Forced to leave behind his
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published November 9th 2010 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2010)
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2013 Rebecca Caudill Nominees
12th out of 25 books — 68 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,701)
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Apr 15, 2013 Bethany rated it really liked it
I loved the integration of the French language into the dialogue. This would be a great book for a child who is learning French.
L.B. Schulman
Jun 20, 2013 L.B. Schulman rated it it was amazing
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
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
Oct 26, 2011 Michele rated it really liked it
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
Emily Maurer
Mar 30, 2015 Emily Maurer rated it it was ok
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
Dec 08, 2014 Hannah rated it it was ok
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
Anne Broyles
Jun 18, 2011 Anne Broyles rated it really liked it
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...
Aug 10, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
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.
Jul 20, 2016 Yapha rated it really liked it
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
Gabe Warner
I like this book because it told how gustave persevered though the events such as him losing his friends and family because he was a Jewish boy who lived in Paris when the Nazis invaded.i also though of how brave he must have been after hearing what the Nazis were doing to the Jews over the radio
Jose Penuelas
Apr 20, 2016 Jose Penuelas rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ms. Palubicki
Aug 20, 2012 Ms. Palubicki rated it liked it
Shelves: historical
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.
Lorraine Stinson
Feb 16, 2012 Lorraine Stinson rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lisa Zink
Jan 28, 2013 Lisa Zink rated it really liked it
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?
May 27, 2014 Spencer rated it it was amazing
This book was exciting and always had something happening. It takes place in the time of the holocaust. It can get dramatic at times, but never too boring or bland. The main character, Gustave, is very interesting to learn about because he is faced with people who do not like Jews. When he moves to the country because of the constant bomb threat, Gustave tries to make friends, but does not really fit in. He misses his friends and cousins, who are at home in Paris. Gustave finally finds a friend ...more
Rhondda Powling
Apr 15, 2015 Rhondda Powling rated it liked it
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
Amanda Shook
Mar 31, 2015 Amanda Shook rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 30, 2012 H rated it liked it
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
Jul 25, 2011 Phoebe rated it really liked it
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
Linda Lipko
Jun 17, 2011 Linda Lipko rated it did not like it
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
Feb 15, 2013 Beverly rated it it was ok
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
Alex Baugh
Sep 12, 2012 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
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
Nathaniel Y.
Jan 07, 2013 Nathaniel Y. rated it really liked it
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
Feb 22, 2012 Andy rated it liked it
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
Oct 01, 2012 LJ rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 01, 2013 Ruben rated it it was amazing

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
Apr 17, 2013 Krista rated it liked it
Shelves: caudill-2013
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Addison Children
Feb 10, 2014 Addison Children rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chapter-books
A great first novel, this historical fiction, based partly on the life of the author's father, looks at the plight of Jews in France as WWII unfolds. Gustave and his parents leave Paris, business, friends, and family behind to move to a rural French locale as the Nazis gain strength and position in France. Even in their small town Gustave faces prejudice and fear, but also receives needed help and makes friends. A good choice for that historical fiction report.
Jun 23, 2014 Marcus rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Marcus by: 9th Grade Honors English Class (for summer reading)
I thought this was a wonderful novel. Gustave, the main character, is extremely likable. The book was always exciting and the characters were very well developed. When I finished the actual story and reached the Author's Note, I was astounded when I found out that this was Meyer's debut novel. I also enjoyed that she used her father's experiences as the base of the novel. Great job, Susan Lynn Meyer.
Laura Aase
Jan 21, 2014 Laura Aase rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: any historical fiction lover
This fast paced story follows Gustave, a French Jewish boy. He must leave his 2 best friends and extended family when things heat up in France. They flee from Paris to a small town in the south and soon after, the Nazi's take over northern France. The story focuses on the demarcation line and the French Resistance. This would be an awesome Holocaust introduction book - especially if the resistance were discussed. The map at the beginning and the authors notes at the end highlight the true aspect ...more
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