Odette’s Secrets

Written by Maryann Macdonald

Ages 9-14

Today’s children are told never to keep secrets. But what if your life depends on it? What if you learn to lie so well that you start to forget who you really are? And if that happens, how will you find your true self again?

Odette Meyers was a Jewish child who survived WWII in France by hiding in plain sight. Many of the 84% of Jewish children saved in that country lived through the war in this way. Told in first person in free verse in Odette’s childhood voice, this historical novel “is a gentle introduction to a dark period.”

Teacher’s Guide pdf


Odette’s Secrets is a Sydney Taylor notable!
Also listed as one of the Best Children’s Books of 2013 by Kirkus and Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2013 by The Tablet.
Nominated for both the Texas Bluebonnet award and also for a Cybils!


“This thoughtful, affecting piece makes an ideal Holocaust introduction for readers unready for death-camp scenes.”

Kirkus, starred review.

“This free-verse narration opts for directness over lyricism, allowing Odette’s terror, confusion and gradual acceptance of her new life and new familiarity with God to come through in a very personal way.”

Horn Book

Odette’s Secrets is a stunning book that moved me to tears. In poetic prose, Maryann Macdonald perfectly captures a child’s journey through a horrific time in history. Through Odette’s eyes, we see the impact of the Holocaust in France, and there isn’t a single instance when it doesn’t ring true…Odette’s heartbreaking but hopeful story will stay with me forever.”

Karen Ruelle, author of Hidden on the Mountain, Stories of Children Sheltered from the Nazis in Le Chambon.

“In deceptively simple but highly evocative language, Macdonald has distilled events from long ago and made them fresh and compelling for today’s readers. Original, beautiful, spare and haunting, Odette’s Secrets is a major addition to the literature of this period.”

Yona Zeldis McDonough, author of The Doll with the Yellow Star.

“As someone who has also lived as a hidden child and has not only heard the stories but treated hundred of Holocaust survivors, I was deeply moved by this wonderful book.”

Emanuel Tanay, Professor of Psychiatry (ret.) and author of Passport to Life.