Arresting oil paintings pair with vivid prose to tell the story of a Polish social worker who concealed Jewish children from the Nazis. In her third collaboration with Farnsworth set during WWII, Rubin reveals Sendler's harrowing efforts to transport children to safety in body bags and coffins, as well as her success in concealing a list of the children's names (in hopes that they might be reunited with their families). Sendler's resolute face is luminous against Farnsworth's bleak depictions of the ghetto and in a passage describing her torture by the Gestapo. It's a haunting and unflinching portrait of human valiance. Ages 6–10. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4–7—When German troops occupied Warsaw in 1939, Sendler, a young Catholic social worker, immediately joined the resistance movement. She helped hundreds of Jews by issuing false documents and became an integral member of the underground organization known as Zegota. Disguised as a nurse, she used a forged medical pass to enter the Warsaw Ghetto to bring nearly 400 Jewish children to safety. She organized escape routes through the sewers; hid children under stretchers and floorboards in ambulances; and smuggled babies in potato sacks, suitcases, and toolboxes. She found havens in convents and orphanages, or placed children with Polish foster parents. Remarkably, Sendler kept careful records in the hope of being able to reunite them with their families after the war. Despite being jailed and tortured by the Gestapo, she miraculously escaped the firing squad and continued to work for the underground movement until the end of the war. She was labeled a traitor by the Soviet government, so her remarkable story wasn't brought to light until the collapse of communism in Poland in 1989. Rubin's detailed, lengthy text is paired with Farnsworth's dark, somber full-page oil paintings. As with other illustrated biographies of heroes from the Holocaust, such as David A. Adler's A Hero and the Holocaust: The Story of Janusz Korczak and His Children (Holiday House, 2002) and Michelle McCann's Luba: The Angel of Bergen-Belsen (Tricycle, 2003), readers mature enough to handle the difficult topic and complex story may be turned off by the picture-book format. However, this important story deserves a place on library shelves.—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
From the Publisher
Arresting oil paintings pair with vivid prose to tell the story of a Polish social worker who concealed Jewish children from the Nazis. . . . A haunting and unflinching portrait of human valiance.
A moving tribute to a courageous woman.