Review: I SURVIVED THE NAZI INVASION, 1944 (I Survived Graphic Novels #3) by Lauren Tarshis / Georgia Ball / Álvaro Sarraseca

Rating: 8.5/10


It’s been years since the Nazis invaded Max Rosen’s home country of Poland. All the Jewish people, including Max’s fam­ily, have been forced to live in a ghetto. At least Max and his sister, Zena, had Papa with them . . . until two months ago, when the Nazis took him away. Now Max and Zena are on their own.

One day, with barely enough food to survive, the siblings make a dar­ing escape from Nazi soldiers into the nearby forest. They are found by Jewish resistance fighters, who take them to a safe camp.

But soon, grenades are falling all around them. Can Max and Zena survive the fallout of the Nazi invasion?

With art by Álvaro Sarraseca and text adapted by Georgia Ball, Lauren Tarshis’s New York Times bestselling I Survived series takes on vivid new life in this explosive graphic novel edition. Includes nonfiction back matter with historical photos and facts about World War II and the Holocaust.

Perfect for readers who prefer the graphic novel format, or for existing fans of the I Survived chapter book series, I Survived graphic novels combine historical facts with high-action storytelling that’s sure to keep any reader turning the pages.


Thanks to the publisher for an advance reading copy of I SURVIVED THE NAZI INVASION, 1944 (I Survived Graphic Novels #3) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

One of the most heart-breaking Holocaust stories I’ve read since Night by Elie Wiesel. While this graphic novelization of Tarshis’ I SURVIVED THE NAZI INVASION, 1944 is aesthetically pleasing thanks to Álvaro Sarraseca’s exquisite artwork, the content within is still difficult to fathom.

Tarshis’ I Survived series of novels came out quite a bit after I finished my elementary/middle school days, but I can imagine these would have been part of my reading list had they been out earlier. The mix of factual history with engaging storytelling is a great way to get kids interested in learning about the past. Having said that, I definitely would’ve taken the graphic novel over the original novel; I was a bit of a lazy reader back in the day ;).

The storytelling is fantastic and the reader really gets a sense what life was like for a Jewish child during WWII, granted it was much MUCH more brutal than what can be put to the page of a elementary/middle-grade graphic novel. While the grittiness of gunfights and death is set aside, there is still some material here that may be a little much to handle for certain ages. I will definitely say proceed with caution and give it a once-through before handing the reins over to your little one.

While the story itself is great, what I really loved about this graphic novel is the afterward. The author pens a note to readers about why she chose to write this story, and then goes on to provide a short history lesson about WWII and the Holocaust including a explanations of things seen throughout the story and a timeline of events. Absolutely fantastic.

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