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A Bag of Marbles (Un sac de billes #1-2)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  546 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
In 1941 in occupied Paris, brothers Maurice and Joseph play a last game of marbles before running home to their father's barbershop. This is the day that will change their lives forever. With the German occupation threatening their family's safety, the boys' parents decide Maurice and Joseph must disguise themselves and flee to their older brothers in the free zone. Surviv ...more
Hardcover, 126 pages
Published August 1st 2013 by Graphic Universe (first published January 23rd 2013)
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David Schaafsma
Dec 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really liked this memoir, adapted by Kris in 2011 from the 1973 memoir by Joffo and translated by Edward Gauvin about Joffo's Jewish family's emigration from Paris as Nazi occupation made it increasingly dangerous to be there. Four sons, a mother and father, all proceed out of Paris in various ways, though our focus is on the youngest, Jo, 11, and Maurice, a little older, who are sent out of Paris (alone!) on a trip across Europe as danger ensues.

There are several worries/pitfalls with Holoc
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a teacher, I've watched graphic novels change the habits of reluctant readers. Unfortunately, it's been difficult to get some of my colleagues to treat them as the quality stories they often are. Bag of Marbles covers so many fronts. It's a stunningly told story about the relatively lucky families persecuted during WW2.

This is a title that should accompany any unit covering the Holocaust. Secondly, just as with Little White Duck, the visual format enables both graphic novels and memoirs to f
This book totally impressed me. It surpassed my expectations. But then again, maybe I had the bar pretty low.

I don't typically gravitate to holocaust stories (due to high exposure at a young age), and I'm always suspicious of adaptations and translated works - I fear dilution, what can I say. Ok, that's a grand generalization, but whatevs.

Anyway, this was awesome. It's a different angle of World War II than I've read before, and the story is told really really well. Although the illustration st
Dov Zeller
I read the memoir (English edition) about a year ago and loved it. The graphic version is charming, evocative, I would hazard to say beautiful, and brings the time and place uniquely to life. That said, the non-graphic book was a lot more detailed and I missed Joffo's often amused, sometimes terrified or bewildered, but always life-affirming narrative voice.
Edward Sullivan
Oct 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
An engaging, poignant graphic memoir about French Jewish children fleeing to Unoccupied France. Adapted from the French memoir by Joffo.
Rachel (TheShadesofOrange)
3.5 Stars
This is a nice world war II graphic memoir done in a water-color art style.
Jenny Schwartzberg
Years ago I read the original Sac des billes and enjoyed it so I was curious to see how it had been translated and adapted as a children's graphic novel. I received an eARC through NetGalley and while the artwork wasn't sharp like the final book will be, I definitely enjoyed reading it. It catches the spirit of cheerfully courageous survival in the face of terror and anguish that is so much a part of the original. It will also be a good window on an aspect of life during WWII that is not often c ...more
Daisya Spencer
Apr 10, 2018 rated it liked it
In 1941, in Paris, France, Joesph and Maurice one day comes home bloodied from a fight and their father tells them that it's time for them to leave Paris and flee to where their older brothers live, in Italy because the German occupation is threatening the safety of their family.
When I read the synopsis I expected the whole book to be about their travels, but it wasn't. I think around 30-something percent or so was when they made it, safely to where their brothers were, but then the family had
Surprisingly cheerful for a story about a Jewish family evading Nazis and the Vichy police during WWII. There's lots of focus on good people who helped them and clever things they managed to do. I'd like to read the original memoir sometime to see whether the original set up that cheerful tone, or whether it's a result of choices by the adapters.
Jalee Boucher
May 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
I felt this book was confusing in some parts but otherwise it was really good.
Fantastically told tale of two Jewish boys sent by their parents away from Nazi-occupied Paris to find their brothers in free France. Based on a memoir by Joffo, the story telescopes much time into a little over 100 pages with watery watercolors. The opening scene at the Jewish barbershop run by their father is incredibly tense.
Jun 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This graphic novel tells the interesting story of two brothers and their trip to safety out of occupied territory during World War II. While the story was compelling enough to keep me going, the review copy I was sent had poor quality illustrations that were pixeled out, but the idea I got from the cover art was that of pleasant watercolors. Could be used with kids in grades 3-7.
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Da La Bella e il Cavaliere

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité. Finché queste tre parole rimarranno sulle facciate dei municipi francesi, saranno al sicuro. Il padre di Joseph ne è sinceramente convinto, ma quando agli ebrei viene imposto di portare una stella gialla che ne permetta l’identificazione, le sue certezze iniziano a incrinarsi. Si infrangono del tutto quando Joseph e Maurice ritornano da scuola malconci a causa delle ritorsioni dei compagni che improvvisamente li vedono diversi.
Non si può p
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book I read is called Bag of Marbles and it is about World War 2 and the Nazis. Imagine it is 1940 and you live in Paris, France and you are a young boy who loves to play marbles with his friends. Then 1941 comes and the Nazis have came to Paris and taken over because of this you have had a huge chunk of your childhood taken from you. This is exactly what happened to Joseph and Maurice. Since you are so young before the Nazis came you had no idea what it meant to be a Jew until you had to be ...more
Soobie can't sleep at night
L'ho preso in biblio questo. Quando era uscito ne avevano parlato in tanti ma poi è caduto nell'oblio. Oggi l'ho recuperato, sempre nell'intento di leggere tutto ciò che c'è sugli scaffali dei fumetti della biblio di PN.

I disegni mi sono piaciuti abbastanza, un po' indefiniti forse, ma piacevoli. Belli i colori, per una volta. Molto vivaci. Belle anche le vignette di grandezza diversa che non rispettano il solito schema della pagina.

La storia - che comprende anche una terza parte, ma non so sia
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Although I typically enjoy World War II literature, I was fairly unimpressed with this book. I used the DAWCL database in order to find this book. It won the Society of School Librarians Honor in 2010.

The story, although true, seemed to be told hastily without much of a plot line. It was a true story of Jo Joffo's experience during the war, but there didn't seem to be much of interest that actually happened to Joffo- he was held for a time in a jail, got sick, but that was about as bad as it got
This graphic memoir tells the true story of Joseph and Maurice Joffo, young French brothers, who spent 1941-1945 on the run in France trying to escape the grasp of the invading Nazis. The Joffo family has to divide in twos and Jo and Maurice are quite young when they’re sent away from the parents in order to hide. They repeatedly escape the Germans by hiding their Jewish ancestry and bravely learning to fend and provide for themselves from boyhood. The watercolor illustrations are nice and the s ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
***SPOILERS*** A Bag of Marbles is one of the best WWII/Holocaust stories I have read so far. It takes place in France in 1945, when the Germans were almost done with the war. At the end of the book, the family ends up together, since they were all around the country. Everyone thinks that they are Jewish, but in reality, they were Russians that moved to France. They aren't Jewish, yet they have to run from the Germans.
Aidan Lind
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Bag of Marbles by Vincent Bailly is an amazing book. A bag of marbles is about Jo and Maurice, two French Jewish kids journey through World War II. This is one of the best Graphic Novels I've ever read for the story and also the fantastic art. I suggest this book to anyone who loves history or anyone at all.
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
The illustrations is good.The part i like was when it show the boys on there trip.And the encounters they had along the way. I wish there where more background information about the event. Apart form that this book is good if you don't like to read a lot and the illustration is really really good. plus the style is like a comic book so it doesn't feel like your reading a long boring .
Aspect of WWII I didn't know and well portrayed in the graphic format. Might want to read the memoir it is based on.
Remez Boque
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is slightly sad, and the art is different. But it is good.
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
After fleeing Russia because of the pogroms there, Joseph Joffo grandfather and his family settled in Paris and quickly assimilated. The family grew and prospered. Jo's father became a successful barber, married and had 4 sons. But, in 1941, it looks like things are going to get bad in Paris now that the Nazis have taken over the city.

Jo, 10, and his older brother Maurice are forced to wear yellow stars to school, as is every Jew in Paris. Jo resents it and when a friend offers to trade a bag of
Mar 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Holocaust Unit
Feb 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-y, holocaust
A well-paced, well-drawn story about two young Jewish brothers' attempts to escape the Nazi-controlled part of France and get into the "free zone" of France during World War II. The story has some nice subtleties told through the pictures, with especially endearing portrayal of the boys' father and affectionate rememberings of the impressive doings of their grandfather during the pogroms in Russia. This shows the dangers many Jews fleeing the Nazis faced during this time and is very much an adve ...more
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
My non-fiction book that I chose to read is called A Bag of Marbles. It is about two Jewish brothers trying to survive the Nazis. Non fiction is true, meaning its full of facts and events that actually happened. Non-fiction can be biographies, historical events, textbooks and “how to’s.” In the book the boys are trying to get reunited with their parents. But the hardest part for them is that there are Nazis pretty much everywhere they go so it is really tricky. For example, there was a moment i ...more
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
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Nicola Mansfield
This is a tough one for me to review because I had a few issues with it and frankly, found it boring. I have not read the memoir this graphic is adapted from so cannot compare. I've had a look at reviews of the original memoir to see what it's all about and it appears to be a book for adults, readable by high school age, and has received good reviews for being from the heart and for the message it brings to this generation of readers. It is however, noted as being "uneventful" and "not exciting" ...more
Leah Kehler
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing


In A Bag of Marbles, the story starts out with two brothers, named Jo and Maurice, playing a game of marbles. After time has passed, they go home. The next day, their mom is sewing gold stars on their coats, as it’s required now by the Nazis. During the school day, Jo and Maurice are beaten up by older kids because of the star they bear. The school day ends with Jo’s friends trading a bag of marbles with Jo for Jo’s star. When the boys get home, their father tells the tale of h
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