A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this touching and humorous graphic novel presents an episodic chronicle of life in 1980s Poland during the last years of Communist rule. Household business and historical events are both seen from the perspective of a sensitive, lively girl who dreams of freedom.
What's the story?
Born in Poland in 1979, 10 years before the fall of the Iron Curtain, young Marzi Sowa learns to navigate the pathways of early childhood while keeping one eye on the confusing world of adults living under Communist rule. This episodic memoir depicts events both deeply personal and literally history-making. Marzi spends vacations in the country, plays with friends in the hallways of her apartment building, and tries to please her ballet teacher. She also deals with food shortages, worries while her father is on strike from his factory, and witnesses sweeping change with the rise of the Solidarity movement, which eventually brings down the Communist government.
Is it any good?
Marzena Sowa captures her '80s childhood in Communist Poland with clarity, humor, and pathos in MARZI. She unself-consciously recounts the grand enthusiams and stinging humiliations of day-to-day life for a sensitive grade-schooler, in particular for one living in economic and political uncertainty. Using a limited palette of browns, grays, and reds and a strict six-panels-per-page layout, Sylvain Savoia creates art that fits the subject perfectly -- alternately cartoonish and highly realistic to depict Marzi's inner and outer worlds.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the history of communism in Europe and the events that led up to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Because of shortages, Marzi's family often cannot buy favorite foods. In the U.S., we tend to believe that the foods we like will always be available. But are there some situations where shortages might happen here, either now or in the future?
Marzi's mother and father have very different parenting strategies. What are the advantages and disadvantages of being a "worrier" vs. being more "happy-go-lucky"?
Marzi's father and the other workers at the factory go on strike in protest against low wages and unfair practices. How can the collective actions of working people affect public opinion? What are the dangers that might come from speaking out against authority?
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