Over the weekend I read two very different books that deal with WW2 and to a certain extent with the Holocaust. One is The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Boden while the other one is The Pages In Between: A Holocaust Legacy of Two Families, One Home by Erin Horn.
The first book is aimed primarily at children but can be equally enjoyed by grown-ups. Hans Augusto “H.A”. Rey together with his wife Margret, were the authors and illustrators of children’s books and are particularly famous for their Curious George series. The two went to Brazil separately, married in 1935 and moved to Paris that same year. In 1940, Hans and Margret Rey fled the French capital as the German army was advancing. Hans assembled two bicycles and they rode down to the Spanish border where they bought train tickets to Lisbon. They managed to sail to Brazil and from then on to New York City.
The Journey That Saved Curious George by Louise Boden relates the Reys’ amazing journey through text as well as full-color illustrations, original photos and documents. The book is divided into two parts: the first provides background on the couple’s childhoods in Hamburg and early life together in Rio de Janeiro and then France; the second half deals with their escape from France when they realized that as German-born Jews they were no longer safe safe and had to leave without delay.
I found that The Journey That Saved Curious George is a great book to read with primary school children to give them insight into WW2 without scaring them. The watercolors by Allan Drummond and the numerous documents make the book look like a travel journal and encourage discussion. In the end, both child and adult will enjoy the captivating story, the richly-detailed illustrations and the attractive layout.