We generally associate picture books with happy, cute or clever stories. But there are sensitive subjects that are an essential part of every child’s education. I Will Come Back for You: A Family in Hiding During World War II ($17.99, Schwartz and Wade, ages 5 and up) is a very special picture book that touches upon the hardships of World War II. The story, told to a granddaughter by her grandmother, is about her experience growing up in Rome, Italy, being separated from her father, escaping from home and hiding far away in the mountains. The grandmother wears a bracelet with charms that represent different chapters of her life. The story is both fascinating and poignant.
The narrative is based upon author/illustrator Marisabina Russo’s own family, revealing the love and tragedy her Jewish Italian family endured at the hand of the Nazis. Ms. Russo’s colorful illustrations nicely complement the story. She includes real family photos in the front and back inside covers of the book and offers an Afterword page to explain more details about her family’s true story.
The author uses language in the book that is safe and subtle, so it will not be a traumatic experience for young readers. Because of the sensitive subject matter, I suggest that parents read this book along with their children and discuss the events of the story with them, as young readers will likely have many important questions to ask. I am grateful there is a book like I Will Come Back for You to help broach a difficult, yet unavoidable subject such as this one. I highly recommend it.
– This book is reviewed by Debbie Glade.