White Bird: A Wonder Story
White Bird: A Wonder Story

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Annotation: Graphic novel tells the story of Julian's grandmother, Sara: how she, a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in Nazi-occupied France during World War II; and how the boy she once shunned became her savior and best friend.
Catalog Number: #178629
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Graphic Novel Graphic Novel
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Illustrator: Czap, Kevin,
Pages: 218 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-525-64553-5 Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4080-3
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-525-64553-5 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4080-7
Dewey: Fic
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Palacio adds another layer to the Wonder universe with this graphic novel debut. Julian calls his grandmother, Sara, to interview her for a class project. What follows is a story of resistance, bravery, and survival, beginning in unoccupied France, during Hitler's rise. While her non-observant, affluent Jewish family is safe for some time, it isn't long before Sara's mother disappears and Jewish students are taken from the school. She escapes the roundup by hiding in the school and is discovered by Julian, an ostracized classmate badly disabled by a childhood bout of polio. Julian hides Sara in a barn near his house, where his family keeps her safe until the end of the war. It is this friend whom her grandson Julian is named for. This compelling story is served well by the graphic novel format; muted background colors and an emphasis on facial expressions center the emotional intensity of the story. The author effectively ties atrocities of WWII to current political issues, ending with a declaration of "Never Again." Supplemental information includes a glossary, photographs, and further reading suggestions.
Kirkus Reviews
A grandmother shares her story of survival as a Jew in France during World War II.As part of a homework assignment, Julian (Auggie's chief tormentor in Wonder, 2012) video chats with Grandmère, who finally relates her wartime story. Born Sara Blum to a comfortable French Jewish family, she is indulged by her parents, who remain in Vichy France after 1940. Then, in 1943, after the German occupation, soldiers come to Sara's school to arrest her and the other Jewish students. Sara hides and is soon spirited away by "Tourteau," a student that she and the others had teased because of his crablike, crutch-assisted walk after being stricken by polio. Nonetheless, Tourteau, whose real name is Julien, and his parents shelter Sara in their barn loft for the duration of the war, often at great peril but always with care and love. Palacio begins each part of her story with quotations: from Muriel Rukeyser's poetry, Anne Frank, and George Santayana. Her digital drawings, inked by Czap, highlight facial close-ups that brilliantly depict emotions. The narrative thread, inspired by Palacio's mother-in-law, is spellbinding. In the final pages, the titular bird, seen in previous illustrations, soars skyward and connects readers to today's immigration tragedies. Extensive backmatter, including an afterword by Ruth Franklin, provides superb resources. Although the book is being marketed as middle-grade, the complexities of the Holocaust in Vichy France, the growing relationship between Sara and Julien, Julien's fate, and the mutual mistrust among neighbors will be most readily appreciated by Wonder's older graduates.A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful. (author's note, glossary, suggested reading list, organizations and resources, bibliography, photographs) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-16)
School Library Journal
Gr 46 This graphic novel expands on Grandmère's childhood story, which was referenced in The Julian Chapter, a companion to Palacio's Wonder. Grandmère tells Julian about her childhood in France. She describes how her comfortable, happy life changed in the summer of 1940, when the Germans occupied part of France. Though Grandmère, or Sara, and her family lived in the free zone, she tells Julian, "Nothing was really normal anymore. Not if you were Jewish, like us." As the war progresses, it becomes more real to Sara, but she doesn't understand the danger until the day that the Nazi soldiers arrive at Sara's school to take the Jewish children. Sara hides to escape capture but doesn't know what to do next until she is rescued by a classmate who leads her to safety. The boy, Julien, though she knows him by the cruel nickname Torteau (French for "crab"), uses crutches to walk because his legs were affected by polio. The two become friends, and their relationship even turns romantic as the years pass while Sara is in hiding, but Julien's character doesn't become more than a tragic hero. Moments set in the present featuring Julian and Grandmère frame the tale and draw parallels to family separation at the U.S. border, offering a powerful conclusion. An author's note discusses Palacio's connection to the story, and back matter provides further information about the war, the period, and more. VERDICT Sure to be popular among fans of Wonder and educators who want to connect past to present. Mindy Rhiger, Hennepin County Library, MN
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
A grandmother shares her story of survival as a Jew in France during World War II.As part of a homework assignment, Julian (Auggie's chief tormentor in Wonder, 2012) video chats with Grandmère, who finally relates her wartime story. Born Sara Blum to a comfortable French Jewish family, she is indulged by her parents, who remain in Vichy France after 1940. Then, in 1943, after the German occupation, soldiers come to Sara's school to arrest her and the other Jewish students. Sara hides and is soon spirited away by "Tourteau," a student that she and the others had teased because of his crablike, crutch-assisted walk after being stricken by polio. Nonetheless, Tourteau, whose real name is Julien, and his parents shelter Sara in their barn loft for the duration of the war, often at great peril but always with care and love. Palacio begins each part of her story with quotations: from Muriel Rukeyser's poetry, Anne Frank, and George Santayana. Her digital drawings, inked by Czap, highlight facial close-ups that brilliantly depict emotions. The narrative thread, inspired by Palacio's mother-in-law, is spellbinding. In the final pages, the titular bird, seen in previous illustrations, soars skyward and connects readers to today's immigration tragedies. Extensive backmatter, including an afterword by Ruth Franklin, provides superb resources. Although the book is being marketed as middle-grade, the complexities of the Holocaust in Vichy France, the growing relationship between Sara and Julien, Julien's fate, and the mutual mistrust among neighbors will be most readily appreciated by Wonder's older graduates.A must-read graphic novel that is both heart-rending and beautifully hopeful. (author's note, glossary, suggested reading list, organizations and resources, bibliography, photographs) (Graphic historical fiction. 12-16)
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
ALA Booklist (10/1/19)
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (9/1/19)
Word Count: 12,875
Reading Level: 3.5
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.5 / points: 2.0 / quiz: 504917 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.5 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q77571
Lexile: GN440L
Guided Reading Level: Y
Fountas & Pinnell: Y

Inspired by her blockbuster phenomenon Wonder, R. J. Palacio makes her graphic novel debut with an unforgettable, Sydney Taylor Book Award-winning story of the power of kindness and unrelenting courage in a time of war. 

"I was captivated by White Bird. It tells the hardest truths with honesty and calm (so that young readers can hear them). R.J. Palacio brings to life the nature of heroism and the real risks we face today." --Meg Medina, Newbery award-winning author of Mercy Suarez Changes Gears


In R. J. Palacio's bestselling collection of stories Auggie & Me, which expands on characters in Wonder, readers were introduced to Julian's grandmother, Grandmère. Here, Palacio makes her graphic novel debut with Grandmère's heartrending story: how she, a young Jewish girl, was hidden by a family in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II; how the boy she and her classmates once shunned became her savior and best friend.

Sara's harrowing experience movingly demonstrates the power of kindness to change hearts, build bridges, and even save lives. As Grandmère tells Julian, "It always takes courage to be kind, but in those days, such kindness could cost you everything." With poignant symbolism and gorgeous artwork that brings Sara's story out of the past and cements it firmly in this moment in history, White Bird is sure to captivate anyone who was moved by the book Wonder or the blockbuster movie adaptation and its message.

Praise for Wonder:
#1 New York Times bestseller
USA Today bestseller
Time Magazine's 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time

"In a wonder of a debut, Palacio has written a crackling page-turner filled with characters you can't help but root for." --Entertainment Weekly

"Rich and memorable." --The New York Times

"A beautiful, funny and sometimes sob-making story of quiet transformation." --The Wall Street Journal


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