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Masters of Silence

Masters of Silence

Interest Age: 9–12
Grade: 4–7
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: RL.6.1,2,3,4,5,6,9,10

Reading Level: Lexile 750L
Hardcover : 9781773212623, 272 pages, March 2019 , 8.0" x 5.5"
Paperback : 9781773212616, 272 pages, March 2019 , 8.0" x 5.5"
Audiobook : 9781773218267, 272 pages, June 2023 Ebook (EPUB) : 9781773212647, 272 pages, March 2019


Silence can be powerful.

Kathy Kacer’s second book in her middle grade series about heroic rescues during WWII tells the tale of siblings Helen and Henry, and history’s most famous mime. Desperate to save them from the Nazis, Henry and Helen’s mother makes the harrowing decision to take her children from their home in 1940s Germany and leave them in the care of strangers in France. The brother and sister must hide their Jewish identity to pass for orphans being fostered at a convent in the foreign land. Visits from a local mime become the children’s one source of joy, especially for Henry, whose traumatic experience has left him a selective mute. When an informer gives them up, the children are forced to flee yet again from the Nazis, but this time the local mime—a not yet famous Marcel Marceau—risks everything to try to save the children.

Masters of Silence shows award-winning author Kathy Kacer at the top of her craft, bringing to light the little-known story of Marceau’s heroic work for the French Resistance. Marceau would go on to save hundreds of children from Nazi concentration camps and death during WWII. In characteristic Kacer style, Masters of Silence is dramatic and engaging, and highlights the courage of both those rescuing and the rescued themselves. Wenting Li’s chapter heading illustrations and evocative covers provide the perfect visuals for the series.


  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2019
  • Commended, Sydney Taylor Book Awards, Notable Book, Association of Jewish Libraries 2020
  • Short-listed, Vine Award 2020


“A harrowing, gut-wrenching tale and a heartfelt homage to a quiet hero.” 

- Kirkus Reviews, 12/16/18

“This well-crafted novel with its compelling, sympathetic characters is an excellent addition to most school and public library historical fiction collections.” 

- School Library Journal, 02/19

“Spare yet compelling writing effectively captures a child’s point of view in a terrifying time.”  

- CM Reviews, 03/01/19

“This is a wonderful tale of the resilience of Jewish children during a dark time in history.  It also shows the power of silent communication.” 

- School Library Connection, 05/19

“Those who love historical fiction should find this perspective enjoyable.” 

- Booklist, 02/15/19

“This book should be included in every school library. It’s sad to read but still it should be read and discussed. It’s full of strength and hope when darkness was all consuming.” 

- My Book Abyss, 03/24/19

“Another excellent novel by Kathy Kacer, one that informs readers of another important yet relatively unknown WWII hero.” 

- The Children’s War, 04/05/19

“Deft­ly blends fact and fic­tion, result­ing in an engag­ing sto­ry which will appre­ci­at­ed by chil­dren, par­ents, and educators.” 

- Jewish Book Council, 07/22/19

“Kacer is a master of plot and emotion.” 

- American Jewish Library News & Reviews, 09/19

“In the direct, clear style that she is known for Kathy Kacer creates a tense, believable story . . . the reader is held hostage to the end . . . This book is a tribute to [Marcel Marceau’s] work and a worthy addition to any collection that is built to educate young people about the Holocaust.” 

- Anne Letain

“A page-turner.” 

- Tablet Magazine, 01/24/20