The Librarian of Auschwitz. Based on the novel by Antonio Iturbe. Adapted by Salva Rubio. Translated by Lilit Zekulin Thwaites. Illustrated by Loreto Aroca. 2023. 144 pages. [Source: Library] [Graphic novel; YA graphic novel]
First sentence: Back then, she was just a child...but books were already a window.
My thoughts, part one: This one is a [young adult] graphic novel adaptation of an award-winning novel. I have read both the original novel and the graphic novel.
Premise/plot: Though it is a work of fiction, The Librarian of Auschwitz is based on a true story: the story of a super-small library and its young librarian, Dita. Block 31 is different, special, almost miraculous and too good to be true. Here Jewish children come together every day while their parents labor under the watchful eyes of their guards. School is forbidden; learning is forbidden. But. A school it is. There are teachers and teenage helpers. Dita is one of the helpers or assistants. She's also the librarian. For what is a school without a library? This library collection, like the school, is completely forbidden. It consists of EIGHT books plus additional living books. Dita's job is risky, but important. Block 31 exists for one reason only: to fool the world in case someone comes looking for answers. The Germans mistreat Jews? You've got to be kidding. Just look! Here's a camp of families. We even see that the children are taken care of during the day and laugh and play and sing. The prisoners are not fooled for a minute, but, the children are fortunate in some ways.
My thoughts, part two: THE graphic novel condenses the story considerably. The illustrations may add something to the story for some readers. Graphic novels aren't exactly my favorite and best. I read a few per year. I can find them incredibly engaging at times.
Having read both the graphic novel and the original novel it is based on, I prefer the original. But I can appreciate why this one was adapted to a new format to potentially reach different readers.
© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews