'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Review: Beyond Belief

Little is known or written, about the Grand Mosque of Paris, and how Muslims saved countless Jews during the Second World War. 

Dee White draws us into the story with details and revelations about the dedication, purpose and sacrifice shown by the Muslims in the mosque, in order to keep the children safe.

Jews all around Paris have been rounded up and taken away on buses never to be seen or heard of again.

It is during one of these raids that eleven year old Ruben is taken by his mother to the mosque in the city, after escaping their hiding place in a friend’s cellar. Her intention is to keep him safe while she and her husband try to find their daughter. 

Arrangements are made for the Fox to see Ruben safely to Spain when the time is right.

Against all that he believes, Ruben becomes Abdul. He must now fit into the surroundings there, learn to read Arabic to recite prayers, and be shown how to pray. He must act like a Muslim and put his Jewish life aside temporarily. 

 He finds it is not easy to become something other than who you are.

He is a good student but is not accepted by all the children there. He learns patience, forgiveness, kindness, courage and faith by following the other children’s examples. This transition means survival; his reunion with his family. The whisper of his mother and father’s words keep him strong and focused.

It is an adventure that Ruben embarks upon, a rite of passage; a maturation process full of life lessons. Nothing is easy. But difficult situations make the best lessons.

When the mosque is raided, Ruben flees through the sewers, guided by the heroic, nameless people of the Resistance, in order to reach the safe house where the Fox waits to secret him to Spain and safety. Many surprises lay in store.

Another exceptional book in the Heroes of the Holocaust series that produces wonderful stories from which young people can learn history.

Title: Beyond Belief
Author: Dee White
Publisher: Scholastic, $17.99
Publication Date: 1 April 2020
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 97817606612516
For ages: 11 +
Type: Historical Fiction