Monday, June 28, 2010

Graphic Novel Monday: Resistance: Book 1, by Carla Jablonski & Leland Purvis

Resistance: Book 1, by Carla Jablonski & Leland Purvis. Published 2010 by First Second. Graphica. Fiction.

Resistance: Book 1, is the first in a projected series of three graphic novels by author Carla Jablonski and illustrator Leland Purvis about the invasion of France by the Nazis during World War 2, and the brave men and women who fought back. This book centers on a small village in the free zone, where young Paul Tessier and his sister Marie work with the Resistance to save his friend Henri Levy, a Jewish boy whose family has disappeared.

Their journey takes them all the way to the sewers of Paris and the Jewish resistance hiding there, but along the way the kids face some daunting challenges. Paul and Marie's father is a prisoner of war, and their town is suffering under the privations and stress of the invasion. There are Resistance members among the villagers who can help them, but it's not easy to know whom to trust, and danger is everywhere. And neither the violence nor the trauma of war is spared as Jablonski and Purvis tell their breathtaking tale.

I would describe the visual style of the book as varied and cinematic. Paul is a budding artist and "his" sketches are used side by side as a contrast to the more polished narrative art, to show the raw emotion he feels at different moments in this tense and suspenseful story. Greens and yellows dominate the color scheme, lending a somewhat dated look appropriate to the historical setting. Visuals range from establishing shots and crowd scenes to closeups and action sequences, all rendered with drama and panache.

I think Resistance is a terrific book and would make a great read for middle school readers and above interested in learning about World War 2 and more specifically how it was experienced in France. It includes some very good messages about taking risks and standing up for what you believe in, and doing what's right even when it's not easy. The Author's Note at the end also includes good historical background and topics for discussion or reflection. I'm really looking forward to the next books in the series.

Come back next Monday for an interview with author Carla Jablonski.

Rating: BUY

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from the publisher.