Reading Pile: We'll Soon Be Home Again GN
We'll Soon be Home Again collects the testimonies of six holocaust survivors and their childhood experiences during their time in the ghetto, the de-humanization of the concentration camps, and the various rescue efforts afterwards. The particular focus of the book is partly in answer to revisionist claims that the Holocaust never happened and the lack of education concerning everything surrounding it. Each survivor's experience is shared in the hopes of preventing history from repeating itself, and in opening the eyes of younger generations.
Each section of the books starts with the earliest memories of each child's experiences, some following the slow build up from Hitler's rise while others may start closer to the beginning of their time at the camps.
In some chapters a narrator may reveal the slow pace at which their sense of normalcy and security were stripped away. Others, such as Emerich's story in chapter five, focus more on their time in the camps, or the long March of Death which he barely survived. Most chapters do also continue on and tell more about their liberation as well and some with their time with the Swedish afterwards as they dealt with their various health issues and trauma. Two of the stories interconnect as well as the survivors were brother and sister who were separated and had no idea the other survived, allowing for a reunion that is visually echoed in both stories but highlights their alternate perspectives.
Each story has its own pacing due the nature of the survivor's recollections, but in general they all have a style that's bluntly matter of fact with the tone of a documentary at times. Jessica Bab Bonde's storytelling unifies them well and follows a certain structure, each chapter ending with some sense of the life each survivor built for themselves afterwards. This is then followed up by a sort of mini-bio for them, sometimes just expanding on the families they built afterwards or in their efforts to further share their experiences for the sake of education.
Peter Bergting's art brings a stark simplicity to each story, creating a unique unity of tone. His style is heavily in the Mike Mignola school of art, emphasizing thin lines to create blockier and sharper forms and utilizing a lot of heavy shadows and dark spaces. His grim aesthetic works for the harshness of what they are depicting, but also can soften up and reveals lighter tones that capture the hopes of the lives being rebuilt.
Bonde and Bergting offer up an impactful glimpse of shared experiences that hopefully opens the door for many younger readers to learn more. The back of the book has a basic timeline and glossary as well, and also offers up a number of additional resources. It's also affordably priced for easy access, hopefully making it easier to get this stocked in classrooms and libraries. Unfortunately, I never saw this pick up too much traction at our store when it initially arrived in mid-2020, but considering 2020 that's not too much of a surprise. Still it was disappointing as I think it deserves more attention and a place on most educator's shelves, and hopefully it will over time.