Kid’s Book Review: Courage to Dream

Kid’s Book Review: Courage to Dream

About the Book and Author

Neal Shusterman bravely presents a graphic novel exploring the Holocaust through surreal visions and a textured canvas of heroism and hope.

Courage to Dream plunges readers into the darkest time of human history – the Holocaust.

This gripping, multifaceted tapestry is woven from Jewish folklore and cultural history interlocking five narratives that explore one common story – the tradition of resistance and uplift.

Neal Shusterman

Neal Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Unwind dystology, the Skinjacker trilogy, Downsiders, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award. Scythe, the first book in his series Arc of a Scythe is a Michael L. Printz Honor Book. He also writes screenplays for motion pictures and television shows.

Born in Colombia, raised in the UK, and residing now in the US Andres Vera Martinez describes himself as ‘the madman who spends his days drawing, painting, taking photos all live long day. On a steady diet of music, tea & biscuits, pastrami sandwiches, and buñuelos’!

Book Review

although you might expect it to be a bit depressing, considering the anti-semitism that we are now sadly seeing again in the world, it is actually full of hope

This beautifully illustrated graphic novel is all about the Holocaust. However, this book brings magic into the storyline, and uses it to help the oppressed fight the Nazis, telling tales often related to the Jewish religion about how the power of their hope and faith can defeat the evil intentions of the Nazis.

I really enjoyed this book as it was very moving, and loved the way it incorporated things from the Torah and wove them into the storyline. The book includes characters and concepts from traditional Jewish legends like The Golem, Moses’ Staff and others. These things are used in celebration of Jewish faith and courage. It also includes some non-Jewish myths too.

My favourite story was one set in Denmark, about the staff of Moses. I think all of these stories help teach people to believe what they want to, and that there is often truth behind stories. For instance, the Golem story is about a camp riot, which did happen, and luckily resulted in 196 Jewish people escaping Auschwitz. Also, many Jewish prisoners managed to escape going to concentration camps by jumping from the trains taking them there.

I would say that this book is suitable for ages 11 or 12+. After reading this, I would definitely recommend that you read Anne Frank’s diary, which is set at the same time and during the same events as Courage to Dream.

It’s a very thought provoking book and although you might expect it to be a bit depressing, considering the anti-semitism that we are now sadly seeing again in the world, it is actually full of hope and makes you feel that things might get better in the world.

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Reviewer Profile

Ivan
  • Name: Ivan
  • Age: 12 years
  • Likes: origami, pizza and drawing
  • Dislikes: peas and Donald Trump
  • Favourite Book: Gargantis by Thomas Taylor
  • Favourite Song: Space Oddity by David Bowie
  • Favourite Film: Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince