One of our recommended books is The Paris Children by Gloria Goldreich

THE PARIS CHILDREN

A Novel of WWII


Paris, 1935. A dark shadow falls over Europe as Adolf Hitler’s regime gains momentum, leaving the city of Paris on the brink of occupation. Young Madeleine Levy—granddaughter of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish World War I hero—steps bravely into a new wave of resistance and becomes the guardian of lost children.

When Madeleine meets a small girl in a tattered coat with the hollow look of one forced to live a nightmare—a young Jewish refugee from Germany named Anna—she knows that she cannot stand idly by. Paris is full of children like Anna—frightened and starving, innocent casualties of a war barely begun.

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Paris, 1935. A dark shadow falls over Europe as Adolf Hitler’s regime gains momentum, leaving the city of Paris on the brink of occupation. Young Madeleine Levy—granddaughter of Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish World War I hero—steps bravely into a new wave of resistance and becomes the guardian of lost children.

When Madeleine meets a small girl in a tattered coat with the hollow look of one forced to live a nightmare—a young Jewish refugee from Germany named Anna—she knows that she cannot stand idly by. Paris is full of children like Anna—frightened and starving, innocent casualties of a war barely begun. Madeleine offers them comfort and strength while working with other members of the resistance to smuggle them into safer territories. But as the Paris she loves is transformed into a theater of tension and hatred, many people are tempted to abandon the cause—and the country. And amidst the impending horror and doubt, Madeleine’s relationship with Claude, a young Jewish Resistance fighter, as passionate about saving vulnerable children as she is, deepens. With a questionable future ahead of them, all Madeleine can do is continue fighting and hope that her spirit—and the nation’s—won’t be broken.

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  • Sourcebooks Landmark
  • Paperback
  • September 2020
  • 432 Pages
  • 9781728215624

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$16.99

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About Gloria Goldreich

Gloria Goldreich is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of several novels, including The Bridal Chair. Her stories have appeared in numerous magazines, such as McCalls, Redbook, Ms. Magazine, and Ladies’ Home Journal. She lives in Tuckahoe, New York. 

Praise

“Inspiring.” —Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room 

“An extraordinary, rich novel that will leave a powerful mark on readers’ hearts.” —Kim Michele Richardson, New York Times bestselling author of The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Discussion Questions

1. Madeleine, with her grandfather Alfred Dreyfus as a role model, commits herself to the dangerous role of rescuing Jewish children as a Resistance fighter. What other historic or personal figures might serve as a role model to young people confronting choices that call for daring and dangerous action? Take, for example, Martin Luther King Jr., a heroic health worker, or a relative or friend whose ideals and actions you admire.

2. Given her dual roles, one as a covert Resistance fighter and the other as an agent for the Vichy government, Madeleine must often hide her true feelings. How does she accomplish this, and how might you act in similar circumstances?

3. Madeleine must balance her love for Claude against the importance of the life-saving work that engages them both. How might you confront a similar struggle in your own life? Should the needs of a larger community be prioritized rather than the yearning of an individual?

4. When Madeleine’s credentials are questioned, she flirts with her interrogator. This is counter to her usual modesty, but it is a ploy that she uses to protect the children she is intent on saving. Do you think that end justifies the means? Can you think of other situations that parallel her dilemma?

5. Madeleine’s physician father insists that he must treat anyone who needs his help, ally or enemy. Would you agree with his attitude?

6. Although Madeleine’s primary goal is to rescue endangered Jewish children, she also becomes a demolition expert. How does she confront each role? Do they require similar skills, similar courage?

7. The Resistance demands secrecy for the protection of its members. Do you think more openness would have been helpful to their operations?

8. Resistance victories met with severe reprisals from the Nazi occupiers. How did the reprisals affect the surviving freedom fighters? Do you think that the greater good outweighs the suffering of the few?

9. Madeleine’s grandmother assures her that “this life is worth its grief,” an assurance that Madeleine accepts and embraces. How do you respond to that concept?