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Forging Freedom
     

Forging Freedom

by Hudson Talbott, Brett Barry (Read by)
 

Jaap Penraat can't understand the Germans' hatred of his Jewish neighbors in his hometown of Amsterdam. As the restrictions multiply and the violence escalates, Jaap knows he must take action to help his friends. He begins by using his father's printing press to forge identification cards and papers for Jewish neighbors and refugees, but as the Nazi grasp tightens,

Overview

Jaap Penraat can't understand the Germans' hatred of his Jewish neighbors in his hometown of Amsterdam. As the restrictions multiply and the violence escalates, Jaap knows he must take action to help his friends. He begins by using his father's printing press to forge identification cards and papers for Jewish neighbors and refugees, but as the Nazi grasp tightens, he is forced to take a more drastic path - leading 20 Jews on the dangerous first leg of a journey to Paris, the start of the underground pipeline to safety.

This initial group of 20 men is only the beginning; the number eventually grows to over four hundred Jews saved from certain death by Jaap Penraat's heroic efforts, brought to life in this vivid retelling.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Chronicling the daring wartime activities of a Dutch friend and neighbor, Talbott (We're Back: A Dinosaur's Story) overcomes a mildly strained narrative by virtue of his freshly conceived and powerfully rendered paintings. The story itself commands attention. Jaap Penraat is barely out of his teens when the Nazis invade Holland, and almost as soon as the Nazi persecution of the Jews begins, Jaap begins counterfeiting identity cards and other documents for his Jewish friends. In 1942 he hatches and executes a stunning plan: he forges a series of papers so he can pass as an official of a German construction company, then applies for official travel permits to bring Dutch "workers" (in fact Jews) to a phony job site in France, from which point they can be smuggled to Spain and other safe harbors. In this way Jaap and a partner save more than 400 people before they halt their operation in May 1944. Talbott saddles this real-life drama with slightly didactic exposition, and his prose is uneven ("Books held a special place in the hearts of the people of Holland"). But his illustrations pack a wallop, incorporating Jaap's forgeries and other documents in full-spread compositions, generous spot art and occasional borders. Depicting throngs of Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, for example, Talbott uses indistinct gray tones to imply the crowd mentality and reserves color for resisters like Jaap. His art revitalizes the traditional images of the war to home in on the individuality and vulnerability of its heroes and its victims. Ages 7-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
As a child, Jaap Penraat helped his Jewish neighbors by being their "Shabbas Goy," a non-Jew who performs chores forbidden to Jews on the Sabbath. As an adult in Nazi occupied Holland, Jaap did not abandon his Jewish friends. He forged identity and work papers to smuggle over four hundred young men out of Europe. This exciting account dramatizes Jaap's first rescue mission, depicting Jaap as a calm and clever hero who young readers should find inspiring. The book provides straightforward historical background without graphic details of horror, making this sixty-four-page volume suitable for elementary school readers. Talbott's topnotch illustrations are well-designed, amplifying the text in an arresting manner. For example, one double-page spread shows Hitler's head on a map of Europe. Barbed wire tentacles extend from the despot's head, suggesting a demonic octopus with myriad arms. Another double-page spread surrounds text with images of Nazi storm troopers. This book engages the eye, the mind and the heart. It could be well utilized in values curriculums. ESL students and older reluctant readers who need high interest/low reading level books should also find it stimulating. 2000, G. P. Putnam. Ages 9 to 12. Reviewer: Jackie Hechtkopf
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-Throughout his life, Jaap Penraat had Jewish friends. When the Germans occupied Holland in 1940, it seemed reasonable that he do whatever he could do to help them. Trained as an artist and architect, he began forging ID cards, moving quickly on to permits and exemption papers. Later he employed Jews in a small company making religious statues. Two months in jail reinforced the man's determination to work against the Nazi relocation campaign, and he concocted a plan to smuggle a group of people out of the country. He eventually helped 406 people escape. This compelling biography describes how the boy who, according to a neighbor, liked doing mitzvahs, became a man whose heroism was later honored by the Dutch government and by the Israeli Holocaust Heroes and Martyrs' Remembrance Authority. The author's personal connection to and affection for Penraat is evident in the warmth of his descriptions. Unfortunately, much of the story is told through unattributed or fictionalized dialogue, and while the imagined conversations have the ring of truth, they are not supported by any documentation. Competent watercolors and pictures of forged documents lend some authenticity, but today's young readers have come to expect explicit sources for factual accounts. General statements and information presented only on the jacket are insufficient.-Kathleen Isaacs, Edmund Burke School, Washington, DC Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781536641288
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
01/24/2017
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Hudson Talbott illustrated Show Way (by Jacqueline Woodson), a Newbery Honor book, and Leonardo's Horse (by Jean Fritz), which was an ALA Notable Book and a VOYA Honor Book. He lives in New York City and Leeds, New York, in the Hudson Valley.