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Black Radishes

By: Susan Lynn Meyer

BOOK TALK

This beautifully-written story takes place in France at the beginning of World War II.  Gustave and his parents live in Paris as the Germans are beginning to take over France. They choose to flee the rapidly growing anti-Semitic sentiment in Paris and move to the small country village of Saint-Georges. There in the unoccupied zone, his family continues to experience the fear of hostility towards them and impending disaster as the German army continues their invasion. Gustave worries about the friends and family that he left behind in Paris, but it is not until he meets a girl named Nicole that he is able to see a solution to help them.  Nicole and her family, who are Catholic, have joined the French Resistance movement to fight off the German takeover of their country and to help their Jewish friends, and Gustave joins with them to help save his family and friends.  This is a must-read book about the power of one person to make a difference.  It shows the bravery, cleverness, and incredible desire to survive of the human spirit.  Black Radishes would be a great follow-up read to The Diary of Anne Frank.

Prepared by Pat Strawn, Librarian, John Jay High School, San Antonio, Texas