Peter in Peril: Courage and Hope in World War Two – Helen Bate

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peterinperil

Walker Books Australia

ISBN: 9781910959572
Imprint: OTTER-BARRY BOOKS
September 1, 2016
Australian RRP: $27.99

There is always a need for memoirs or biographical texts in a simpler format for younger students. There is also always a great demand, in my experience, for true stories of bravery especially during times of conflict. The enduring popularity of true stories around the Holocaust is evident. Not because the young readers enjoy the horrible or gruesome history but because they are continually inspired by the resilience of the human spirit. When these stories are told from a child’s POV they become even more powerful.

This graphic novel is based on the recollections of Peter, who was six at the time when Budapest fell to the Nazi regime. For Jewish families such as Peter’s this marked the beginning of a long, difficult and dangerous period of history.

The dangers and the stark reality of living in fear and hiding are minimised but there is no doubt that children will still grasp the enormity of the situation in which Peter and his family found themselves.  Throughout these dark times there were still moments for Peter to still just be a child and these make for real contrast to the grimness of his environment.

Thankfully Peter and his family survived and continued to make Hungary their home after the war, when there was still as much struggle, poverty and lack of food.

The last few pages of the book relate some background to Peter’s story along with a summary of the family’s situation. A photo of adult Peter, now living in Austria, with his children and grandchildren provides a fitting ending to this story of one little boy’s war.

Highly recommended for readers of around 10 upwards.

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