Monday, December 22, 2014

Let the Celebrations Begin! (A story of The Holocaust) by Margaret Wild & illustrated by Julie Vivas

ISBN-13: 978-0763670139
The story absolutely must be told, and retold, and then told again. This terrible, tragic time in history must never be forgotten. 

Imagine then my surprise when I saw a children’s picture book that even broached the story of The Holocaust! I thought there was no way this horror could be told or pictured for the ears and eyes of the young. But of course, the young were there experiencing that terrible time.  

Then I realized the author and illustrator had taken that very facet – children in a place of horror, their need for toys, and the kindness of others in that terrible place. Then they wove a gentle story and illustrated it realistically in soft colors (perhaps to soften the harshness of that place and time). It is a story of  believing they would be liberated and planning to have a children's party and providing toys for the children. Toys made by the women out of scraps - bit and pieces, bits of thread - from their own threadbare clothes. Toys for the children for this party when the soldiers would come and free them all.
There is a “small collection of stuffed toys preserved that were made by Polish women in Belsen.” The story includes the women and children that had survived waiting for soldiers to open the gates and let them out. To rescue them.

Children will ask questions as you read this book to them. The pictures show the women and children in rags. They have no hair. They are very hungry. This gentle book will afford an opportunity for parent or teacher to gently explain how horrible that time was but how strong the human spirit can be.

Margaret Wild, author, is a highly regarded and award-winning children’s book author whose book There’s a Sea in My Bedroom was short-listed for the Kate Greenaway Medal. She lives in Australia.
Julie Vivas, Illustrator, is an acclaimed illustrator whose books include The Nativity, which she also wrote, and Possum Magic by Mem Fox. She lives in Australia.

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy by Candlewick Press in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.

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