A Family Secret and The Search Review

I met my husband in a Christian church. Although he was raised in a Jewish family, he gave his life to Christ not long before we met. I’ve learned a lot about Jewish history by being married into his family, but no one has ever brought up the Holocaust. I think it’s really important to teach our boys the history that has impacted their ancestors, but because I didn’t enjoy learning history when I was in school, my understanding was very vague. When I found the books A Family Secret and The Search from Timberdoodle, I knew that they would be the perfect tools for teaching our eleven year old son the toughest parts of his Jewish heritage.

**I really lucked out because Timberdoodle has blessed me with these books in exchange for providing my honest review to you.**

Two books, A Family Secret and The Search

Our son is an average reader in the 6th grade. His favorite series are Dog Man and Diary of a Whimpy Kid. They are simple reads with a lot of pictures to catch his attention. I knew that A Family Secret and The Search would be great for him because they are very easy reads in graphic novel form. Although these are fictional stories, they are based on meticulous historical research on World War II and the Holocaust, and present information related by eyewitness accounts.

graphic novel pictures

I decided to read the books along with my son so I too could learn more and also because one of the few parts of history that I remember actually being very interested in, was the diary of Anne Frank. Just like Anne Frank’s stories, those that you will hear in A Family Secret and The Search, will suck you in and grasp your attention so hard that you won’t want to put the books down until you are finished with them.

A Family Secret, written by Eric Heuvel, should be read first. It is a heart gripping story of friendship during the toughest circumstances you could ever imagine.

Boy searching through attic

A grandmother (Helena) who lived in Amsterdam during the German occupation of the Netherlands, retells painful stories from World War II to her grandson. Helena had been separated from her Jewish best friend, Esther. It wasn’t until her grandson makes a surprising discovery, that Helena finally finds out what happened to her childhood best friend. This book is rich on historical facts, but as a reader, you feel like you’re a part of the story. My heart broke and I cried as I read about all of the hardships and deaths that occurred during this time period.

The Search, written by Eric Heuvel, Ruud van der Rol, and Lies Schippers, expands upon the story found in A Family Secret. This book gives Esther’s account of the Holocaust. It made my stomach turn and my heart ache, but gave me and my son a better understanding of Germany’s history.

Teen escaping the Holocaust

Both books are a great way to teach middle school age and up about World War II and the Holocaust. There is a language reference in The Search on page 25. If you don’t want your child to read it, then I suggest taking white out to the one word before you give it to them to read. I personally wouldn’t suggest these books for anyone younger than ten or any child who gets anxious easily or is overly emotional. If your child is mature and ready to learn about the devastating details of this part of history, then I highly recommend A Family Secret and The Search. I also suggest buying both of them and not just one, as there are some surprising ways that they tie together and make it even more interesting.

To expand even further, Timberdoodle has included a teacher’s guide that includes great activities, questions to ask for deeper thinking, info about Anne Frank, and many web links to expand on. There are even links to stories of real survivors!

ANOTHER INTERESTING POST...  1st Grade Curriculum

I give A Family Secret and The Search five stars! These are books that I plan to hang on to for our younger two boys when they’re ready for them.

If you’ve enjoyed this review, you can find these books and other spectacular educational resources at one of my favorite sites that I’ve been ordering from since our oldest son (now 20 years old) was in 5th grade, www.Timberdoodle.com.

Be blessed my friends!


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  1. Karla

    February 24, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Great review! Thank you for sharing your experience and recommendation.

    1. biblemomma

      February 24, 2020 at 3:57 pm

      Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Kristen

    February 29, 2020 at 1:32 pm

    These sound like great books for those who are not huge fans of reading but want to learn more about history.

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