An autobiographical story of the Nazi invasion of France reveals yet another perspective on World War II.
Odette, a young Jewish girl living in Paris in 1940, tells the story of her life in a small apartment with her mother and father. She is cared for after school by her wise and kindly godmother Madame Marie. When the German Nazi troops invade her country, she is swept up into the horror of World War II. Her father enlists in the French army and is soon captured and sent to a French concentration camp. Her mother secretly joins the French Resistance but makes elaborate plans to send Odette to a countryside safehouse when the Nazis enter Paris.
Normal activities such as going to the park and school soon change for Odette as Jewish children are banned from parks, libraries, and other public places. Jewish citizens are required to wear yellow stars sewn onto their clothing to make them easily recognized. When the Nazis troops begin to sweep Paris, destroying Jewish businesses and taking Jewish families prisoner, the plans to hide Odette and hurry her to the countryside kick into gear. Her godmother quickly rips the yellow star from her clothes and helps her pack. Resistance fighters escort her to the railroad where she joins other Jewish children on their way to safety, but her safety depends upon her keeping secrets. "How many lies would you tell to stay alive?"
Arriving in a small French village, she joins a family group, learns Catholic prayers, and blends into her new life as a Christian. Will she be able to keep the secrets upon which her life depends? Will someone suspect that she is really is a Jewish child? Will she be turned over the Nazi soldiers and taken to a concentration camp? Will she ever see her father, mother, or Madame Marie again? Will Odette survive?
In Odette's Secrets, the reality of war focuses on the real life experiences and trials of this young, courageous Jewish girl. Told in free verse in the present tense, first person by Odette, readers will find themselves drawn into her struggles. It is but a small piece in an enormous puzzle, but many questions and research possibilities arise as readers follow in her footsteps. Odette's Secrets provides youngsters a taste of the fear and horror experienced by a child during World War II. It bears witness to the results of mindless prejudice that transforms into the limitless power of hate. Odette's Secrets will remind readers that the Holocaust must never be repeated and never forgotten.
The Kids Wings literature guide by Suzy Red comes to you in both PDF and PowerPoint formats. The activities include:
Pre-Reading Discussion Cards
2-Page Readers Theater Script: Building Background on World War Ii
Map Skills: Where is France? Where is Europe in France
Map Skills: Europe Today
When Was This War: A Timeline and Math Activities
Background for World War II
2-Page Readers Theater Introduction for Odette's Secret
Vocabulary List and Activities
Making Connections: Pre & Post Reading Discussion Guide, Chapter Questions
Odette's Secrets: Taking Notes in a Table
Visualizing the Story: Pages 1-23
Big6 Research: Who Was Saint Christopher?
Crossword Puzzle: Escape from the Soldiers
Big6 Research: What Were the Holocaust? Third Reich?
Multiple Choice Comprehension: Pages 88-108
Visualizing Village Traditions: Pages 109-117
Multiple Choice Comprehension, Page 25
Writing Prompt: My Home
Writing Prompt: Remember Our Soldiers
Big6 Research: Who Was Joan of Arc?
Logic Puzzle: A Quote about the Holocaust
Discussion and Writing Prompts
Plus, a BONUS Interactive Jeopardy-type Game in PowerPoint format
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