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Catherine's War

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  508 ratings  ·  94 reviews
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published January 21st 2020 by HarperAlley (first published April 20th 2012)
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Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
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Alex  Baugh
**Contains Spoilers**
It's 1942 and Rachel Cohen, a Jewish teen, has been enrolled in the progressive Sèvres Children's Home just outside Paris for four months. It's also been months since she heard anything from her parents and has no idea where they are or what may have happened to them. Luckily, she loves being part of Sèvres, and is convinced that the kind husband and wife who run it, Penguin and Seagull, are part of the French resistance. Thanks to Penguin, Rachel has found an interest in
Mar 28, 2020 rated it liked it
3.5. I wish there was more here from before and after the war. But it's a beautifully drawn story - love the white outlining of the characters, overall it's such an aesthethically pleasing graphic novel. It's a story about hiding from the Nazis and based on a true story. I will definitely recommend this for older middle grade readers at the library.
Interesting that I just finished A Thread of Grace which deals with Jewish families helped out by people in the Italian countryside. This is about WWII, but the setting is France. The author's mother was a hidden child during this time period. This meant her mother was moved from place to place as the war raged on.

The title character, Catherine, is at a school that is forward thinking in its approach to teaching. As the Germans draw near, the Jewish children are given new names and fake
4.5 ⭐s

I loved everything about this. Great middle grade graphic novel about WWII in France.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and illustrated book that pays homage to the survivors and the Resistance fighters of France during WWII.
You had me at WWII, based on a true story and graphic novel. I would say this is more for middle readers on up. Its WWII, but no in scene violence, though the results of the violence are shown. Also, constant fear and fleeing for ones life, including young children is a running theme throughout. It doesnt pull punches in that regard. Makes one think, which is a very good thing. 5, I really liked it and think others will too, stars. ...more
A graphic novel that shows the French resistance in action, protecting the country's children.
Raven Black
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Holocaust story with a twist. This time a young Jewish girl goes into hiding but does it in the open. Staying no place too long, one step ahead of the Nazis, our narrator learns about life, love and freedom.
Deanna Siegel
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Rachel Cohen, later known as Catherine to disguise herself during the war, moves all around France to survive during World War II. The one thing that keeps her from falling apart is her camera and passion for photography. I was completely engrossed in this book and in Rachel's journey. I loved her spirit and the end left me wanting to keep following her as she continued her life. An amazing journey.
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a story about the Jewish children who were hidden for their safety and separated from their parents during Hitler's time period. It is recorded through pictures taken by a young girl who loves photography and has a good eye for showing what is happening around her. What I read was an advanced copy and just a few of the pages were shown in color. The final copy will be entirely in color and will make reading this book even more enjoyable and interesting, if that is even possible
Ms. Yingling
Nov 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by Young Adult Books Central

Catherine is living at the Sèvres Children's Home since both of her parents were taken. It has a progessive school, and children are given some freedom in what the want to study. Catherine loves photography, and thanks to an instructor, Penguin, has a good camera and knows how to develop pictures in the darkroom. The staff is vigilant about protecting the Jewish students from the Nazis even having them change their names to be on the safe side, but
This graphic novel from France is a reworking of a novel based on the experiences of the authors mother during World War II as a Jewish child during the Nazi occupation. Rachel lives at a childrens home in Sevres, France in 1942. Her parents are still in Paris. The childrens home allows its students the freedom to study what they are interested in. Rachel loves photography and developing and printing her own images. She begins to document her experiences of the war. Soon as the danger gets ...more
This is a graphic novel retelling of a novel by the same author, who wrote this story inspired by her mother's true story.

Rachel is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during the heat of WWII. At the beginning of the story, she is taking refuge at a children's home, where they change her name to Catherine to protect her from the Nazis. One night, all the Jewish children in the home are sent to hide in different locations in the countryside. Catherine takes her most precious possession, a camera.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really enjoyed CATHERINE'S War -- the art style is engaging and the story is both emotional and interesting. The reason I didn't rate it higher was because it felt like it could have easily been marketed as a YA graphic novel instead of middle grade, and it seems a bit confused about what sort of story is is trying to tell. It is based on a French novel so perhaps some clarity was lost between the translation of both the language and the format; based on the cover and it being marketed as ...more
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fantastic graphic novel based on the life of the author's mother who was a Jewish girl living in France during WWII. At the beginning of the story Rachel is happily enjoying life at her boarding school just outside of Paris with many friends and a budding interest in photography. Then as the war draws closer her parents disappear and the Jewish children at the school are all instructed by the faculty to take Christian names in order to avoid capture. At this point Rachel becomes Catherine. ...more
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5+ I didn't want to like this, another story set during WWII. I thought, oh I'm just going to read a few pages and I'll surely be bored. But that's not what happened. I realized that this was a story about growing up and becoming who you are regardless of the circumstances, finding your own path even when you have no choice but to accept the conditions around you. The art is just magnificent, many mini works of art. Especially the dark room scenes, the traveling scenes, the moments when she's ...more
Apr 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked that the story was not solely about Catherine's suffering. It had room for style and atmosphere. Her school and its teachers had a fascinating life of their own. I grabbed this from the free book closet at work before self-isolation went into place, to take a break from denser books, and it did the trick. The one flaw was that it was hard to believe she could have fallen in love and stayed in love with Etienne enough to follow him across the world after the war, after just a couple of ...more
I enjoyed this. Quite a story. I had thought it was nonfiction, but I was wrong. I had hoped to learn what happened to Catherine/Rachel once she gets to America. I was hoping to know if she became famous and see some of her well known photos. It is a good story. With graphic novels I don't get as close to the characters as I do in a well written novel. This was nicely illustrated. I appreciated the author answering questions at the end. Unfortunately many were not my questions, but I liked the ...more
Bonnie Grover
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This graphic novel is based on a true survival story of WWII. Readers will better understand the war, Resistance and the courage of a young girl as she is forced from one hiding place to another. Catherine documents her journey through her camera lens. And that is where art is found-in lifes little pockets- in the extraordinary. The writing and the illustrations are beautiful. I am going to love sharing this book with my students. ...more
Emily Wallace
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Beautifully done graphic novel. A great addition to the library and to my WW2 offerings. I wish there was more about Catherine before the war. More about how she ended up at the school would be helpful. I sort of felt like I had missed something. I even reread the beginning. Once started the flow was perfect.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
The story of French Jewish children who moved from hidden place to hidden place in France during WWII, evading being reported to the Germans. They even had to pretend to be Catholics and change their names to more "Christian" sounding names. Based on the author's mothers experiences. Watercolor pictures are different than most manga-inspired graphic novels.
Katie Reilley
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Based on a true story, this graphic novel set during World War II in France is a must read for middle grade readers and up. Loosely retelling her mothers experience, the author recounts the journey of a Jewish girl moved from location to location to keep her safe. Highly recommend! ...more
Leah Moore Woods
Good art, kinda stilted writing. Possibly because of translation or because it is an adaption of a novel.
I feel pretty strongly it should be called "Rachel's War" (or something else entirely), because the main characters name is Rachel, and she is only going by Catherine to avoid the Nazis.
Mar 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking but reassuring at the same time. A lovely story about a horrible time in France.
Mar 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Great historical fiction!
Based on the author's mother's experience hiding and on the run throughout WWII as she she takes pictures with her beloved camera.
Meghan Edwards
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an amazing book for sharing the realities of war through a child's eyes.
Annagrace K.
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
A beautifully illustrated graphic novel of WWII France, and a Jewish girl who observes her rapidly changing world through a camera lens.
Mar 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
5th grade and above
Elizabeth P
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is excellent! I would highly recommend this book.
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