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Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer
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Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  591 ratings  ·  126 reviews
In 1938, Lily Renée Wilhelm, a 14-year-old Jewish girl, is living in Vienna when the Nazis march into Austria. After a ship voyage fraught with danger from Nazi torpedoes, teenage Lily reunites with her parents in New York and helps her family earn a living by painting designs on wooden boxes. One day she sees an ad in the paper: a comics publisher is looking for artists. ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Graphic Universe
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Rain23 Sorry I saw this so late. Yes, she'd be able to read it based on that vocabulary level, but the subject matter might disturb her. YMMV depending on wh…moreSorry I saw this so late. Yes, she'd be able to read it based on that vocabulary level, but the subject matter might disturb her. YMMV depending on whether she wants light reading or will tackle a serious subject. My family were great readers so I was reading high school level books at that age. I would say this is about the same level of intensity.(less)

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Average rating 3.66  · 
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Start your review of Lily Renee, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer
Lily Renee, Escape Artist tells how Lily Renee Wilhelm escapes Nazi occupied Austria and later becomes a pioneer of the comic book world.

I thought it was an interesting idea to tell Lily Renee's story through a graphic novel. I thought the pictures were well done and there were some very informative moments but overall I still thought the story was a bit lacking. I wish I could have read more about how she influenced the comic book world, but her story ends very abruptly, leaving me to wonder ab
Oct 09, 2013 rated it liked it
I was hoping to like this one better than I ended up. I'm in love with the idea: a Jewish girl who escapes Nazi-occupied Austria and ends up a successful comics artist in America. I would have liked it much more if it had been longer. At this length, there's no real room for Lily Renee's career. That's a shame. I do like it for including the Kindertransport, something that I haven't seen mentioned much in Holocaust related literature. What of Lily's story that is actually here is very good, I ju ...more
Dichotomy Girl
Aug 10, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2015
2.5 Stars...deducted .5 Star for the crazy abrupt ending..
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, biography
The story of Lily Renee is one of triumph over adversity. One of the only female comic artists of the Golden Age her contribution to comics is long overdue, but now it is told.
Jul 15, 2011 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars.

It would have been practically impossible to write one of my usual reviews on this wonderful graphic novel from Trina Robbins because it is so short.
I had drawn and coloured in (within the lines, too!) a sprawling and epic graphic review of this novel and it was spectacular but just as I was about to scan in my masterpiece onto my computer…. It, um, broke. *cough*
So yeah, you’ll have to make do with this bog-standard review.
This graphic novel follows the story of Lily Renee Wilhelm, a
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really only 3 1/2 stars, but I rounded up for the cool subject matter. A woman who avoided the concentration camps before eventually becoming an artist in the U.S. during the Golden Age of could that not be a great story!
My only serious complaint about this book is that it covered so little of her career as an artist. As a graphic biography of her early life, though, I found it to be interesting. I'm not certain that kids will find it as appealing. The difficult part will be to get
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lily Renée is living a happy, normal life (as a Jew) and wants to keep it that way, but then the Nazis (Hitler's army) attack their home, Vienna, on March 12, 1938. So, Lily's parents sent her to stay with Lily's pen pal in England, Molly; Lily's parents told her to look for jobs in England, so her parents didn't have to live in the invasion. Then Lily did not like living in with Molly and her family, so Lily searched for her cousin Greta, but on her way she had some jobs. Later she reached Amer ...more
Nov 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would recommend this book for students studying the holocaust. Especially for students who are at a lower reading level. It is well paced and easy to understand.
Alex  Baugh
Sep 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
It seems only natural that the biography of a comic book artist should be told in a graphic book. Lily Renée Wilhelms was the 14 year old daughter of well to do Jewish parents in 1938 Vienna, Austria. The family had many friends in Vienna, but when Austria became part of Germany that year, they lost not just their friends, but eventually everything they owned.

In 1939, Lily was invited to by her English pen pal to come live with them. She became part of the Kindertransport before it ended in Sep
Deb Tyo
Aug 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Good story!

I think MG kids will like this true story of a young girl who escapes Austria during World War II. Lily Renee faces many hardships after leaving her home.

Told in a graphic novel format, readers will learn about World War II, about Jews in Austria, about Kindertransport, "enemy aliens", and early comic book history.

A section at the end of the book called 'More About Lily's Story' gives easy-reading factual information about topics in the book.

Lots of information here packed into a nont
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Definitely for a young audience, this graphic biography focuses on the artist's flight from Nazis, not her comics career. Nicely told.
Mrs. Porter
May 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Autobiographical account of one girl's experience during the Holocaust and her life after the War.
Glen Farrelly
The subtitle is "From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer", but sadly this book is not interested in chronicling the second part of Lily's life. I was really looking forward to reading more about Lily's work in comics as she was one of the first ever women cartoonists in what was a new industry. It would have been a great story to tell. Instead, this books abruptly ends with Lily just entering the industry and then has 12 pages of just text about largely irrelevant historical topics (such a ...more
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Featured at An Abundance of Books

Lily Renee, Escape Artist is divided into eight chapters based on significant times in Lily's life. The book also includes a glossary and additional information on some of the different events mentioned. There is also a two page spread of Lily's personal photographs which is a very nice touch. Robbins has an awesome story to work with, but I think the story suffered under page number constraints and unnecessary simplification for the target audience.

Lily grew up
Aug 14, 2011 rated it liked it
English review (for italian version scroll down)

Lily Renee is a lucky child: she has a family who loves her and she is very good at painting. But then the Holocaust begins and all changes: in fact, Lily is jewish, her only way to survive is to escape from Austria to England, alone and without money, as a guest in the family of one of her penfriend. But in her new home she is treated as a servant and left without anything to eat. So she has to escape again, but it won’t be the last time: she’ll t
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lily Renee, Escape Artist is a historical non-fiction graphic novel written by Trina Robbins that follows the life of Lily Renee Wilheim from hardships to success. The story begins when Lily is 14 and living a grand life in Vienna of going to the ballet, opera, and creating her own artwork. However, this lifestyle quickly changes when Nazi Germany invaded Austria in 1938. As the threat of danger began to heighten in Austria for the Jewish people, Lily was given the opportunity to move to England ...more
Sharon Erickson
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kate
From my 11 year old: "I love graphic novels. This book warms your heart. This book follow Lily as she lives through the Holocaust. There are many sad parts, but I would still recommend this book."
Oct 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I'm always amazed by the survival stories that come out of occupied Europe, and Lily Renee's is no different. For such a young girl to have to leave home alone, travel to a foreign country where she barely knows the language and try to ride out the war, it's amazing adults were able to do it, let alone a girl that was barely a teenager. But she did it and it really puts the trials in one's life into perspective. Escaping from the Nazis, then from prejudiced English, traveling to America and then ...more
Christie Hagerman
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
(CAUTION: SPOILERS!) What a spectacular comic book! Lily Renée is a real heroine, and this biographical portrayal of her life makes her story perfectly inspiring for girls of all ages. We are introduced to Lily as a child, one who is privileged with a social life rich in culture and good friends. As her homeland Austria is thrown into World War II, we follow Lily to England where she escapes the Nazis but endures other hardships. Separated from her family and everyone she knows, she must find a ...more
Jan 12, 2017 rated it liked it
A beautifully, stunningly drawn graphic novel, about a very lucky girl in Europe in the 30s. She narrowly escapes the Nazis and eventually finds work in her art of choice - drawing. We watch her move across Europe and eventually to America. A true story about this woman\girl, who just makes it out of Vienna before they close the borders, to America seconds before her ships leaves. It is a historical, dare I say, adventure story that leaves out a lot of the grit that was WWII. The girl seems to w ...more
Catherine Yezak
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read. I have never read much on the Kinder transport and this boo not only covers that, but how some of the children were treated as unpaid servants, and what some of the children had to go through to survive. What I liked best was the story of the women who were encouraged to create comics featuring strong female characters during the war.

At a time when women were just coming into their own, it was nice to see that women were able to share stories of women who could overcome the ene
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
Because of the subject matter I feel like a horrible person to give this book only two stars! I'm sure that Lily Renee is an amazing, strong woman, but it just didn't come across in the writing style. At times I felt more annoyed with her then sympathetic. Also, the title "Escape Artist" made me think she was going to have some horrific escape from the Nazis, but I felt like she just lucked out and was able to be sponsored to England. In the end, everything just seemed to be too perfect.
Robert Greenberger
Jan 21, 2012 rated it liked it
A fascinating woman's life and career should have made more of an impact. Instead, the static art robs the story of its period feel. Germany, England and America all looked the same. Also, once she began her comics career, the book rushes to a hasty conclusion without really telling us more about Lily. This should have been wonderful instead of merely good. I expected better from the creators.
Jan 24, 2016 rated it it was ok
Short read, the ending could've been better. It kinda reminded me of the current event with the Syrian refugees. The terrorist regime on one hand & ISIS on the other, perhaps we'll be seeing graphic novels/novels being written by survivors in the future about the horrifying current events that people seem to be blind to.

"History repeats itself, nobody listens"
Aug 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Different in a good way

I don't normally read comics but the subject interested me. The story is simply told in a way that makes Lily's experience he t harder as it's so stripped down. This is definitely for tween or older readers but it's a format that will make them think more deeply about the Holocaust, family, and what strength and hope mean.
Ben Truong
Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer is a graphic novel written by Trina Robbins and illustrated by Anne Timmons and Mo Oh. It is a biographical graphic novel about a Jewish girl's life under the Nazi jackboot and then as a refugee is low key and that much more profound for it.

Lily Renée Phillips is an American artist best known as one of the earliest women in the comic-book industry, beginning in the 1940s periods known as the Golden Age of Comics. She escape
Aug 05, 2011 rated it liked it
I was asked the other day what kinds of nonfiction trends were appearing in books for children these days. I thought about it. I've a better sense of coincidences than trends. I mean, if there are three books out on the same subject or two biographies appearing about the same person at the same time, that I'll notice. Pulling back and looking at the genre as a whole is more difficult. Still, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that kids today are lucky. When I was a child the biogra ...more
Lisa Marie
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Too short!!

I wanted to take off a star for the abrupt ending and how short the overall story was. I feel that I have read other graphic novels about nothing of importance. Or ones that were completely fictional that were longer and more detailed than this one.

And then I thought bout the rating and said but the book and story were really good other wise. I honestly could not see taking off a star because of length for a story that is about a real life person for one of the most horrible events
Daniel A.
As with Apocrypha Now, reviewed a few days ago—but for entirely different reasons—I don't think I'm the right audience for Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer; in the case of this book, it's because I'm not a kid, but for children, Lily Renée is a perfectly serviceable introduction to the world of graphic novels—as well as a personalization of the Shoah for those selfsame juveniles.

Part of the problem, at least for me as an adult reader of Lily Renée, Escape
John Stanifer
Sep 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Had the privilege of purchasing a signed copy of this directly from the author at a convention over the weekend.

As I observed to a coworker recently, stories from this era never really get old. WWII is so ripe with possibilities, both positive and, of course, negative. There is always a new angle to be discovered. In this case, that angle is of a young Jewish girl from Vienna who is separated from her parents for several years in order to avoid being arrested or killed by the Nazis and--when she
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Trina Robbins is an American comics artist and writer. She was an early and influential participant in the underground comix movement, and one of the few female artists in underground comix when she started. Her first comics were printed in the East Village Other. She later joined the staff of a feminist underground newspaper It Ain't Me, Babe, with whom she produced the first all-woman comic book ...more

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