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A Family Secret

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  340 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
While searching his grandmother’s attic for likely items to sell at a yard sale, Jeroen finds a photo album that brings back hard memories for his grandmother, Helena. Helena tells Jeroen for the first time about her experiences during the German occupation of the Netherlands during the Second World War, and mourns the loss of her Jewish best friend, Esther. Helena believe ...more
Hardcover, 64 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published January 1st 2003)
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Dov Zeller
This book opens with a visit. Jeroen, a teenage boy, drops by his grandmother's place to see if she has anything in her attic that he can sell for the Queen’s Day flea market. While he looks through her stuff, he discovers Holocaust-related articles and artifacts, including a yellow star. He asks his grandmother about it, and this becomes the framing narrative. During most of the rest of the book, his grandmother tells her story, which is a painful and complex narrative. The dangers and difficul ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: series
Back in 2013, I visited Amsterdam and the Anne Frank House. While perusing the bookshop, I came across this graphic novel and its series companion "The Search." Of course, I came home from vacation, moved from my apartment to a house and completely forgot that I had these stories. Three moves later and I finally read them!

When Jeroen stumbles upon long forgotten memories, his grandmother relates the story of the experiences of the Dutch people during German occupation. Plenty of historical detai
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Family Secret by Anne Frank House


This book is very good but in the beginning. It is kind of boring, then you get in the middle and it is awesome. In the end of the book Helena meets Esther again. The genre is Historical Fiction.Also this is a good book for people how want to now about, history and like fiction.

This book is about a boy how goes to his grandma's to find, stuff to sell in a big garage sale.Then he finds some old things and ask his grandma what they are, so hi
This is the other side of the story set out in the graphic novel "The Search". ( I love that the author has put this history in 2 novels rather than one - it gives room for far more depth of character, among other things.) I thoroughly appreciate his story-telling skill - this is not an easy topic, and he manages to cover it with honesty and grace. People are not all good or all bad in this book, and to me this is an important point to make when telling a story about war. I know this is not nece ...more
Ananya Mandal
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
rings too true now for comfort...
Jeroen goes into his grandmother’s attic in search of things to sell at a garage sale. He finds items from World War 11 and questions his grandmother. His grandmother forgot all that was up there and never talked about her past. She opens up to her grandson and tells her story about the experiences of German occupation in the Netherlands and how her father worked with the Nazi’s because he was a Dutch police officer and was following orders. Her best friend Esther was Jewish and her father neede ...more
Nancy Kotkin
Story: 5 stars
Art: 4 stars

A fictional but historically accurate graphic novel, set in The Netherlands, that examines the effect of World War II on two school-aged female best friends, one Jewish and one not, and their families. Despite the book's brevity (a mere 62 pgs), the scope and depth of this work is outstanding. Highlights the difficult decisions that had to be made during the war, and the conflicts that resulted among family members, neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Through a relative
Sandy D.
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwii
A Dutch graphic novel set during WW II, about a young girl who lived in Amsterdam and the Jewish friend she made in 1939. It was translated into English, but there are a lot of details still in Dutch, which lends it a very authentic and exotic feel.

It's aimed at teens - and since it was published by the Anne Frank House in cooperation with the Resistance Museum of Friesland, it is perfect background for kids who are reading (or have read) The Diary of Anne Frank. It has some very insightful pers
Sep 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
This graphic novel, written for teens I think, is about the experience of the Dutch people during the second world war.
It is very well done, whilst at the same time being a really entertaining read.
Full of historical facts and packed with information I was impressed with this book.
Mrs. Porter
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Graphic novel telling of two families with intersecting paths during the WWII Occupation.
Harry Brake
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In choosing a random stack of books not knowing the theme, it is shocking to discover how tied they are. After devouring Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, I turned to Eric Huevel's A Family Secret. Immediately, with the mention of victim, bystander, perpetrator, and collaborator, (flashback from the Holocaust Museum exhibits) I knew I was being transported back to World War II. I loved this detail-oriented tale of relatives and friends that endured the Holocaust.

I always felt the personalization th
May 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphics, fdr
A teen Dutch boy visits his grandmother's attic to gather things for a yard sale. The scrapbook he finds starts his grandmother on the tale of her family's experiences during WWII. Her narrative is a straight-forward account of the events that unfolded so the historical information, although complex, is clear. Alongside the events, she pulls in the emotional side of the story: the impact on her neighborhood, on her Jewish friend, and on her own family, which is increasingly split over supporting ...more
Alex Baugh
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Eric Heuvel's first book, The Search, told the story of Esther Hecht and her parents during the Holocaust. Esther was the only one family member to survive and she had moved to the United States after the war ended. But she always wondered what happened to her best friend Helena Van Dort. Although Helena wasn't a Jew, Esther never knew if she had survived the war or not.

In A Family Secret, the reader already knows that Helena did survive if the reader has read The Search. But Helena has never sp
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novel
The other side of the story. In the style of the Tin Tin comics, this graphic novel tells the story of a Dutch family who witness their Jewish friends and neighbors get rounded up by the Nazis and taken to camps during WW2. The story comes full circle when a teenage boy finds relics in their attic that can only be explained by his grandmother.
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dit stripboek belicht op duidelijke en objectieve wijze veel facetten van de Tweede Wereldoorlog in Nederland. Vooral heel verhelderend voor jongeren die op deze manier kennis maken met de geschiedenis, gekoppeld aan hun eigen leefwereld. Dit stripboek verdient een plek in iedere basisschoolbibliotheek.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Clean artwork and interesting story that integrates well the common life of people suffering during wartime.
This is a graphic novel about a young boy who discovers his grandparents history during WW1 while going through their belongings in the attic. The grandma describes her life during those times in Germany. She had a Jewish best friend that was very affected by the war and tells her grandson of all the things that changed for them, like her friend having to wear a Jewish star at all times and later her friend having to go into hiding. This book is definitely for older readers who get a different p ...more
Marcos Kopschitz

Excelente graphic novel! Tem sequência em outro álbum com o mesmo tema, muito complementar, A busca.

Trata-se de uma ficção histórica passada na Holanda e nos Estados Unidos que, começando com personagens de uma família no presente, relata os acontecimentos a partir da ascensão do nazismo na Alemanha na década de 1930, a Segunda Guerra Mundial, a invasão de quase toda a Europa e a perseguição aos judeus.

Para quem já sabe tudo sobre o assunto, é interessante para rever de uma perspectiva ficcional
Nov 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
Genre: Junior – Graphic Novel

Summary: A Family Secret is a graphic novel depicting the story of a young teen who explores his grandmother’s attic and discovers their secret family history. Grandmother sits him down and shares her childhood in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation. The story relates their family’s struggles as well as their friendship with a Jewish family.

Literary Critique: (a.) Point-of-view
(b.) A Family Secret describes several different points-of-view during the Nazi occupation
LH Johnson
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I picked this up alongside The Search by the same author. Both books are published in collaboration with the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam and focus on the Dutch during World War Two. Whilst I found the sister title a little structurally awkward, A Family Secret was rather stunning.

The grand dame of graphic novels featuring World War Two is pretty definitely Maus. Here's what I thought of that. The Search and A Family Secret form a vital contribution to the field.

In A Family Secret, Helena tell
Feb 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, graphic-novel
Eric Heuvel is a Dutch comic book artist, so A Family Secret, a story which takes place in Amsterdam during the second world war, is perhaps a topic especially close to his heart.

Jeroen is looking for items to sell at a flea market held on Dutch Queen’s Day. He decides to head over to his grandmother’s house, hoping to score some good stuff without actually have to visit with his grandmother. Snooping through the attic, he comes across a scrapbook filled with items marking the German occupation
Sally Sugarman
Oct 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a graphic novel published by the Anne Frank House. It starts out by explaining that on April 30 in the Netherlands, the Dutch celebrate Dutch Queen’s Day. There is a lot of activity, including people selling things. A few days before the holiday Jeroen goes to his grandmother’s house to see if she has anything in her attic that he can sell. She tells him okay, but let her see what he is taking. When he gets up there, he finds clippings from World War II, an old uniform and a picture of t ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
A Family Secret starts off with this boy named Jeroen visiting his grandmother to see if she has anything that he can sell for the Queen’s Day flea market. While Jeroen was looking through his grandmother's attic he found things from the Holocaust. Jeroen asked his grandmother about all the stuff he found, and the whole day they sat in her kitchen while she explained what her life was like during the holocaust and everything she went through during that time. She talked about her best friend Est ...more
The Holocaust in the Netherlands seems an unlikely subject for a graphic novel, but Heuvel handles it quite well. The book gives a straightforward and compelling account of what happened during WWII, told through the eyes of Helena, a Dutch survivor. Helena was not Jewish, but had a close friend, Esther, who was, and who disappeared duringthe war. The events that Helena relates to her grandson Jeroen cover much of the history of the war. Jeroen is at first a reluctant listener, but later is draw ...more
Matti Karjalainen
Eric Heuvel on hollantilainen sarjakuvataiteilija, jonka ainoa (?) suomennettu teos taitaa olla Parhaat sarjat -albumisarjassa ilmestynyt January Jones -tarina "Vaarallinen matka Monte Carloon".

Anne Frank -museon ja Hollannin vastarintamuseon julkaisema "A Family Secret" on kertomus Jeroen-nimisestä amsterdamilaispojasta, jolle isoäiti kertoo suvun vaiheista toisen maailmansodan aikana. Kaikki sodan aikaansaamat haavat eivät ole arpeutuneet, eikä mummo voi unohtaa naapurissa asunutta ystävätärt
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
In A Family Secret by Eric Heuvel and Lorraine T. Miller, Jeroen a young teenager discovers facts and hears his grandmothers' story from the past, involving World War 2.
I thought this was a unique book and a creative way to tell a fascinating story, while bringing interesting history facts into the novel. This story has many different settings, each connecting with World War 2. This story involves friendship, family, action, and love.
In this book Jereon travels to his grandmother's house for
Feb 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
A graphic novel that looks like a Tintin outing seems like the most unlikely way to accurately and compassionately describe the events of the WWII in the Netherlands. However, its step-by-step explanation of the Nazi invasion and Holocaust effects is educational and serious. It's taken with a brief framework of personal story (Grandma explaining her childhood), so there is some comfort of it being the past. But it's still the most horrific time in world history, when humanity was closing in on a ...more
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A family Secret
Dora Agyepong

This book is by Eric Heuvel and it is interested because this book talks about a journey a family took and all the secrets in it. it all started when a young boy named Jeroen wanted things for the Queen’s day flea market, so he decided to visit his grandma attic to get the things he need. so he went to the attic and finds old newspapers and family pictures and start reading them, so right after he was about to leave the attic, his grandma came to the attic and saw the
The Holocaust is not a topic that would seem to lend itself well to graphic novel format, but this book -- and it's sequel The Search--are both very successful at making the story of Holocaust victims accessible to middle and high school students. The author certainly doesn't gloss over the atrocities, but they they are portrayed without excessive sensationalism. Based on the fact that these books have been sponsored by the Anne Frank House, I believe the historical details are accurate. The sto ...more
Becca Rose
A Family Secret was an amazing and sensitive book about the German invasion of the Netherlands. This book depicts the story of Helena and her Jewish childhood friend Ester, which is told by a much older Helena to her grandson Jeroen. This story is very historically accurate while still being rich with friendship, prejudice, suffering, and standing up for what you believe in. This book was a beautifully illustrated graphic novel that was also historical fiction. I think graphic novel was the best ...more
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ERIC HEUVEL is one of the top graphic artists in the Netherlands. He concentrates on writing and illustrating educational graphic novels—three of which, including A Family Secret and The Search, have won the Dutch Comics Association’s category award. He lives in Zaandam.
More about Eric Heuvel...

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