Title: Maurice and His Dictionary
Author: Cary Fagan
Genre: Nonfiction, Middle Grade, Children
Story Perspective: First-Person
Themes: Resilience, Persistence, Positivity, Family, Education
Publication Date: October 15, 2020
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Thank you to the NetGalley and Owlkids Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review an ARC of Maurice and His Dictionary.
Maurice and his family, who are Jewish, find themselves in the midst of WWII. Their mission is to escape the war and stay together as a family. After crossing three countries, the family have perhaps found freedom.
When they finally escape Europe, the family find themselves sent to a Jamaican internment camp. Due to their persistence and resilience, Maurice is not ready to give up on his education though. His dictionary becomes his lifeline in hopes to be able to fulfill his dreams of finishing high school and attend college.
World War II is a time in history that I like to learn more about. I think this is because my first introduction that the world isn’t roses and butterflies was in fifth grade when my class read Number the Stars. Ever since then books and information based during this time period have really interested me.
Graphic novels aren’t usually my choice of book, but I must say that I really enjoyed this one. The illustrations were a little quirky and perfect for upper elementary school children to enjoy. The language was easy to understand, and the storyline was broken down in a comprehensible way. This would be a great way to introduce some WWII concepts to children without it being too overwhelming or too scary.
What I also love about this novel is the fact that the story was true. Sometimes nonfiction may not accessible to children, especially about a topic that is so frightening. However, the author does a fabulous job in presenting this true story.
Following a family who doesn’t give up and who stick together was also sweet to read about. Due to their persistence they were able to escape Europe during WWII, which is nice to read a story that some positivity within its troubling times. Though they did end up in a Jamaican camp, Maurice still had some freedom and was still able to pursue his dreams.
The novel can easily be read in one sitting with children. It can also lead to great discussions and follow-up activities. Overall, it was simply a pleasure reading this graphic novel!
I would recommend this graphic novel to children in upper elementary and maybe middle grade children, especially those who would like to read about one family’s resilience through a harsh time.