Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Seeking Refuge

Watts, Irene N. (Author)
Shoemaker, Kathryn E. (Illustrator)
Tradewind Books 2016. 136 pages
First published: 2016
ISBN: 9781926890029 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Graphic Text
Book genre: Historical

Text Elements:

character, conflict, multimodal, point of view, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Marianne is an 11-year-old Jewish girl from Berlin who is sent to England as part of the Kindertransport preceding World War II. She is separated from her family and adopted by Vera, a cruel, impatient woman who expects Marianne to be her servant. Marianne misses her family terribly; her only comfort is her friend Bridget. Eventually, London is not safe anymore and she is sent to the countryside, where she lives in a few different homes, facing difficulties in each. Eventually, Marianne is reunited with her mother.

Fuzzy pencil sketches in small panels portray Marianne’s uncertain itinerary. Often Marianne’s inner dialogue is present, which betrays her loneliness and discomfort. “Why does she hate me?” she wonders as she crawls into bed one night, pulling the covers tightly around her and her teddy. Lighter moments are with Bridget, who helps her with English. One panel shows them sitting together at the table. “Sank you,” says Marianne. “Put your tongue between your teeth. Try again,” coaches Bridget.

Here is a story about patience, bravery and the tough decision some families made to send their children away in order to keep them safe. The author herself was brought to England in 1938 as part of the Kindertransport.

  •  

    Share your knowledge of World War II. Work together, with teacher assistance, if necessary, to establish the circumstances of the Kindertransport from Germany in 1938-1939.

  •  

    Browse the illustrations. What can you predict and infer about the story from the illustrator's design choices? Why do you think she chose to publish this story as a graphic novel?

  •  

    What challenges does Marianne face as a refugee? How might these challenges be the same or different for a child refugee in the 21st century?

  •  

    Read one of the companion books. Compare and contrast the experiences of Jewish children who escaped the Holocaust.

  •  

    Share your knowledge of World War II. Work together, with the teacher when necessary, to establish the circumstances of the Kindertransport from Germany in 1938-1939.

  •  

    Explore the maps between the chapters and browse the illustrations. What can you predict and infer about the story?

  •  

    As you read, follow Marianne’s journey on a map and create a timeline. Include the challenges she faces. Discuss how refugees’ journeys are similar or different today.

  •  

    Read one of the companion books. Compare and contrast the experience of Jewish children who escaped the Holocaust.

  •  

    Using teacher-selected resources, take notes on one of the lesser-known rescue operations prior to World War II: the Kindertransport. Discuss your findings.

  •  

    Where does Marianne draw strength to help her deal with being apart from her mother (mutti) and father (vati)? Explain using examples from the text.

  •  

    Research Canada’s role in providing billets for children evacuees during WWII. Create a radio advertisement or podcast encouraging parents to send their children away.

  •  

    Write a journal entry from the point of view of a teenager who will be sharing their home with an evacuee. Include plans on how to make them feel welcome.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Geography, History and Citizenship
  • Social Sciences
  • Visual Arts