Cover Image: The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel

The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This is a great graphic novel of a fantastic novel.  The story isn't so adapted that it misses the major points.  Well done and entertaining.
Was this review helpful?
What a wonderful graphic novel version of the original novel! This was superb and I am adding this to my list of books for the Professional Development course I teach to teachers on using literature to teach the Holocaust. I thought the pacing of the text was perfect and appreciated this edition of the story.
Was this review helpful?
A graphic novel of the Holocaust....this is a hard book to review. I enjoyed this book. However, the graphic nature and the content of this book might be hard for 9-12 year olds without more context. But the content isn't sophisticated or deep enough for adults. It would be an interesting lesson to compare the experience of reading this book (with its visuals), versus a straightforward novel about the Holocaust. Maybe for a high school, or even college class. I will most likely purchase this for my own children (ages 9 & 11) but they are very interested in WWII, lost family to the Holocaust and their mother is a librarian!
Was this review helpful?
I love how The Librarian of Auschwitz: The Graphic Novel coordinates with the novel. The graphic novel was great in encouraging visualization of the horrific events of the time. Many kids, especially those lacking background knowledge, would greatly benefit from the fantastic artwork.
Was this review helpful?
I read this without having first read the novel which is probably why I felt the need for more information or that there were gaps in a few places. The artwork matches the feel of the story, which is compelling, and the cover will make most students want to pick it up.
Was this review helpful?
Wow, what a ride. This book expertly showed the gruesomeness of the concentration camps. Dita was such a strong main character and a beacon of hope for those around her. 

I do wish the narrative hadn't jumped around so much in places but overall a great but tough read
Was this review helpful?
This historical fiction graphic novel weaves a deep, emotional tale of fourteen-year-old Dita, a young girl imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz, and her role as librarian within one of the most infamous and brutal concentration camps of the Holocaust. This story incorporates true events, telling a version of one of the darkest moments in all of history through the eyes of a child. It is raw, emotional, and painful - and so very needed. Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy to read. I will be recommending this book to my students.
Was this review helpful?
Based on the experience of real-life Auschwitz prisoner Dita Kraus, this graphic novel tells the incredible story of a courageous girl who risked her life to keep the magic of books alive during the Holocaust.

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. The teenager is a book lover and devoured every book she could put her hands on before the war. But she was taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, and is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. Her life brightens when Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of eight precious volumes the prisoners have managed to sneak past the guards. 

Adapted from the novel written by Antonio Iturbe, this graphic historical novel is an incredible story with beautiful art. It is a very emotional testimony about how books gave hope to hundreds of people during World War II. Dita’s librarian job is dangerous, as she risks her life everyday to protect the precious books, forbidden inside Auschwitz. If found, it would be a death sentence for the young woman. But, at no moment she hesitates, fulfilling her mission without hesitation. It is truly a very inspiring graphic novel, sharing the worse, but also the best of humanity.
Was this review helpful?
This was an interesting adaptation; I haven't read the original, but might seek that out now. I probably won't buy this for my school library, since I have a wealth of books about WWII and the Holocaust, and our 8th grade language arts classes no longer have a unit on that time period. If you need more Holocaust books, this would be a great choice. Be aware that there are some drawings of unclothed people, and it is an unflinching look at conditions in concentration camps.
Was this review helpful?
A beautifully illustrated graphic novel version of the novel. While it doesn’t do a true deep dive of the actual novel, the story itself is straight forward: a young girl tasked with the protection of the few books available in the Terezin Ghetto. The epilogue encourages the reader to read the original novel, while providing background information about the real life Dita and other people written about in the GN/novel. Only thing that would prevent me from including this in my MS library is the illustrations of the selection process, due to their graphic nature. Otherwise, this is a GN I would highly recommend.
Was this review helpful?
In this instance, the potential use of the item greatly surpasses what is usual for the medium. This graphic novel is an exceptional educational resource for a social studies unit: it enlightens as well as entertains. A young girl with her head full of bookish dreams must face life in a WWII concentration camp. She is given a special responsibility: to secretly distribute a handful of books regularly. If the guards catch her she will pay a dreadful price.  She will be put to death.
Was this review helpful?
Like all stories of the Holocaust, this one is horrifying. I'm not sure I agree with the idea of presenting any of the Holocaust as being even mildly palatable. Though this is based on a true story I think the authors tidied up some of it for the age range. But it is inconsistent in content and this would probably not be appropriate for children ages 8-12. The graphics alone would keep it out of most school libraries.
So I have very mixed feelings about this graphic novel. I think it could be read along with Night and used to provoke discussion. But any novel that presents even the slightest positivity regarding the Holocaust is dangerous in this current climate. 
I appreciate what the authors tried to do and it is possible that the story line lost something in translation. But I simply could not recommend this to children to read, even with a parent.
Was this review helpful?
As I read in the epilogue this graphic novel which is based off the novel is to get you to read the novel. And I'm very interested in reading the novel now.

There were so many mature and graphic themes as you would expect. This is an important book for young adults to get them aware and ready for novels that describe how young people like them survived and persevered against all odds.

I want to read the book to learn more about this decoy family camp that she lived in. I will say the comment that Mengele said was so horrifying and it's not the worst of what they did and there were images that would need to be explained cause gassing and mass genocide seem like content for fiction not real life. I saw documentaries and read books in school but it hurt to know that this was happening and that this is what we can do to eachother cause we don't practice the same religion or look the same.

Thank you macmillanusa and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.
Was this review helpful?
This graphic novel follows, Dita Kraus, a prisoner at Auschwitz. Upon arriving to Auschwitz, Dita is asked by Fredy Hirsch if she would be interested in becoming the librarian. While Dita knew that under not uncertain circumstances this meant risking her life, she wanted this job. She showed the true power and love of reading in this role. This graphic novel follows Dita through her time in Auschwitz and her eventual departure. 

This is based on Adita Kraus true story and was adapted from the full-length novel by the same name. I enjoyed reading this and seeing the love of literature and books come to life on the page. As a middle school librarian though, I would not purchase this title for my collection. While it shows the true realities of the time spent in Auschwitz, the depiction of the people stripped and naked are a little too much for what I would feel comfortable putting in a middle school library.
Was this review helpful?
This dark graphic novel is the retelling of a story called The Librarian of Auschwitz.  It's about Dita, a Czech teenager, who is sent with her parents to Auschwitz.  The art work is dark and compelling, with vivid images of the camps.  It's a well told story, but might be for bigger kids than the publisher describes-8-12 means that it would be appropriate for 3rd graders.  There are third graders that might find the story interesting but the pictures of the naked women being sent to the showers might be a bit too much for the general population of elementary school.
Was this review helpful?
I read this with my kids (9 and 7) and found this to be an age appropriate, well written graphic novel. It portrayed the holocaust in a realistic way - showing the danger, fears and atrocities, but in an age appropriate way. This is a very difficult topic to discuss with kids - one that is difficult to comprehend as an adult. The author does an amazing job of depicting the fear, without going overboard, but instead focusing on the bravery, courage and hope of those inside the camps.

Thank you netgalley for my advanced reader copy.
Was this review helpful?
I feel I have to preface this review by saying I don't like WW2 or holocaust books; I find them depressing. I read this book as part of an effort to expand my horizons a little bit and because I DO love graphic novels. As such, it is not my favorite book (mostly it confirmed that I do, indeed, still find holocaust books depressing) but it seems a decently done book that I can see a market for.

Our main character is Dita, short for Edita Adelrova`
She is a 14 year who loves to read, during World War 2. This book traces her story from thriving in Prague to her time in Auschwitz; she was one of the few who survived, so you could say her story has a happy ending, but the book is not, over all, a feel good story.
In Auschwitz, she is given the job of librarian - she maintains and manages a small library of about 8 books, and eventually "living books" - people who can tell stories. She uses them to help bouy up the spirits of those imprisoned in her camp. Books were banned and carried a death sentance, so keeping them out of sight of their guards was paramount, and there are several tense moments through the book.

There isn't really a way to show Auschwitz without showing the horror and brutality found there, but this book is not gory or gross. But there are dead bodies, and naked bodies, when prisoners are forced to disrobe and wait in line to be killed or chosen for labor, or be cleaned. Guards beat prisoners, "on screen" so to say.

The story takes place in Camp Biib, a little facade/experiment that was propped up in case of outside inspection, where it appeared that prisoners were treated somewhat humanely - they were not shaved, kept their clothes, and were able to stay with family, basically, but death rates were still high due to many factors. This is an aspect of Auschwitz I didn't know about - but the facade eventually ends. 

In terms of tone... you know how a common piece of advice for writers is to "show, don't tell?" There feels like a lot of telling. A lot of skimming, overview, cover a lot of ground without details - which makes sense when you find out that this adapts a 400 page biography down to 120 page graphic novel for kids. It's not my favorite style, but it also adds a layer of distance between the reader and the story that helps insulate from the horror.

Any reader who enjoys WW2 or Holocaust stories will enjoy this book, as will any reader who prefers reading about real people. I wouldn't recommend it to any random kid, though, as Auschwitz isn't easy. Probably I would go 10 at the youngest.
Was this review helpful?
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe is a graphic novel about Dita Adler, a Jewish teenager in Czechoslovakia during World War II. She ultimately survived the WWII concentration camp Auschwitz with her love of books, stories, and imagination as a strength to her.

Upon arrival at the camp, Dita and her family were surprised when their hair was not shorn and they were allowed to remain together. In this section of the camp (called BIIb), Dita (who speaks and reads multiple languages) was appointed to hide and care for a few clandestine books in German and Czech. She also helped teach and care for children in a children’s block set up within this section of the camp. Despite the unique setup of this camp, half the prisoners died within 6 months of arriving at BIIb.

When Red Cross volunteers visited the camp, the purpose of their special treatment was clear: it was set up as a propaganda camp. Once this Red Cross visit was complete, BIIb residents stopped receiving special treatment, and many were killed after all.

As victory for the Allies neared, Dita was transferred again and again to new camps. Although she had to leave her treasured books behind, her imagination and memory of the books kept her strong until her release at the end of the war. Her older sister managed to survive the war as well, though they had lost her mother and father to death. After the war, she rediscovers Ota Krauss, who had helped her hide the books when they suffered together in BIIb. Her true story ends on a positive note as she begins a new life with Ota.

Dita’s story is a unique coming-of-age story. Her strength in the midst of trying circumstances was inspiring, and her different situations in a propaganda camp in Auschwitz taught me a new aspect of the war I hadn’t been familiar with. Even with an educational program for children and families remaining together, the sad part is that the fate of these people was similar to others’ fates. Camp BIIb lasted just a few months (from September 1943 to May 1944) and those selected for the camp did not have a reprieve from hunger, disease, and the cold. Of the 17,000 in this propaganda camp, only about 1,300 survived the war. The hope is that by remaining together, reading books, entertaining each other, and educating children may have helped them remain strong until their end.

Although Dita’s story was based on true events and Dita is a woman who is still alive, The Librarian of Auschwitz was first a novel for adults, originally written in Spanish. This graphic novel version, adapted for children, was originally published in Spanish as well. (The graphic novel will be published in the US by Godwin in January 2023.) Due to the subject matter, which includes scenes of violence, dead bodies, and brief but tactful nudity on occasion, I’d recommend The Librarian of Auschwitz graphic novel for children 12+ only. I classify it as fiction (despite the true parts) because that is the designation the original author gave it. I do not agree that it would be appropriate for ages 8-12, as Amazon indicates.

Note: I received a digital review copy of this book for review consideration.
Was this review helpful?
From the very beginning, Dita is a brave, strong character. Her love for books runs from the first page to the last. She cares not only for the books during her time at Auschwitz, but also for her mother and her friends.

The illustrations in the book really bring the story to life. Several scenes got me all teared up. It was easy to feel Dita’s anguish over the death of her father and her friend. I also had chills as she acted quickly to hide books from Nazi soldiers during an inspection, an act that saved everyone in her block.

After the story finishes, there are some sections that explain more of the history and give facts about some of the important characters. I enjoyed reading that as well.

All in all, this is an incredibly inspiring story that makes me want to know more about Dita Kraus and her life. I noticed on Amazon that there’s an autobiography of her life, so I’ll probably pick that up and add it to my reading list, too.

Review will be live on 1/6/23
Was this review helpful?
"The Librarian of Auschwitz" is a graphic novel adaption of the book by the same name. The graphic novel shortens the story by a couple hundred pages into a graphic novel format easier to read by a younger audience. It tells the story of Dita who is a Jew living in Germany during the Holocaust. It talks about the challenges she faced during this time. Recommended for grades 7-10
Was this review helpful?