One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II

Overview

When author/illustrator Lita Judge found hundreds of tracings of feet in her grandmother's attic, she was intrigued and moved to share the story behind them.
One Thousand Tracings tells that story. In the aftermath of World War II a family in America established contact with a family in Germany and to help them sent them supplies, including shoes. The German family was extremely grateful and asked if their American friends would help others in Europe. Soon shoe tracings from ...
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Overview

When author/illustrator Lita Judge found hundreds of tracings of feet in her grandmother's attic, she was intrigued and moved to share the story behind them.
One Thousand Tracings tells that story. In the aftermath of World War II a family in America established contact with a family in Germany and to help them sent them supplies, including shoes. The German family was extremely grateful and asked if their American friends would help others in Europe. Soon shoe tracings from all over the continent started pouring in to the modest Midwest farm. The network of families helping from the U.S. started to grow so that ultimately hundreds of people on both sides of the Atlantic were touched by this remarkable process.

Illustrated with a combination of paintings and collages of original photographs and foot tracings, this moving story is a granddaughter's tender tribute to her grandparent's who organized this relief effort. By sending hope and kindness they began healing the wounds of war. It is powerful reminder of the importance of humanitarianism during wartime.

• 2008 Winner of the IRA Children's Book Award for Primary Fiction
• NCTE Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts 2008
• Jane Addams Peace Award Honor Book 2008
• 2008 ALA Notable Children's Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

A mother and daughter's homegrown relief effort, which spanned a year and a half and aided numerous German families after World War II, is the subject of Judge's debut picture book. Judge's lyrical prose tells the true and poignant story of her grandmother and mother's endeavor to find shoes, clothing and foodstuffs for hundreds of Germans devastated by the war. When Judge's grandmother receives a letter from German friends describing their poverty, she sends them a Christmas package and promptly receives back additional requests for help. These appeals for assistance often include tracings of feet (sometimes cut from German newspapers) so that shoes might be found to match. "The men fought their battles during the war./ Now Mama and I fought our own battle./ A battle to keep families alive." The young daughter's narration offers a child's perspective on the tragedies and hope of the era, making the story especially accessible to young audiences. Softly rendered watercolor bleeds portray the quiet emotions of mother and daughter, often in close-ups, as they match donated shoes to the tracings or call upon neighbors to help. Photographs of some of the actual tracings and of several families who were helped are included in endpaper collages. The book is a powerful testament to one family's ability to affect the lives of hundreds. A concluding author's note describes the lasting friendships this goodwill effort fostered. Ages 5-9. (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
There was an immediate sense of a special gentleness as the book was opened. Perhaps, it was the art or the bits and pieces of yellowed, aged paper and photographs that were saved and collected from a different time, after World War II when the world tried to heal. A young girl and her mother sent packages to Europe where families were overjoyed with a sweater, canned food, or a bar of soap; the simple items were luxuries for people in the aftermath of war. Even a pair of used shoes filled the desperate needs of the husband and wife who took turns sharing a pair of shoes to work the day and night shifts. Tracings of a foot on paper lined the house as the girl and her mother tried to fit the desperate and growing need for shoes by matching the cutout with the footwear they had collected and were sending to waiting feet in Europe. Based on her grandparent's experience, Lita Judge presents a loving tribute to their humanitarian act.
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5
After she discovered a box containing hundreds of tracings of feet in her grandparents' attic, Judge wrote this story of their generosity following World War II in the voice of her mother, a child at the time. When the Hamerstroms received a letter from their German friend, Dr. Kramer, informing them of his family's dire need in the war's aftermath, they mailed food and clothing. His thank-you note contained the plea: "Please send no more to me. Help others." Kramer provided names along with so many foot tracings for shoes that the Hamerstroms began a letter campaign asking other American families for help. They knitted, collected clothing and shoes, and mailed an ever greater number of packages. The exchange resulted in a friendship between the narrator and a young German girl, Eliza. The gift of a rag doll for Eliza was repaid with a painting of a swallow. Each page of text describes activities between 1946 and 1948, and several are punctuated with quotes from actual letters. The soft-edged paintings are colorful and fluid and create a strong sense of time and place. Collages of letters, foot tracings, and original photographs heighten awareness of the suffering brought upon thousands in war-torn Europe. Judge's endnote describes her attic discovery. This unique and important book illustrates how reaching out to others, even those once considered the "enemy," can help to heal the wounds of war.
—Marianne SaccardiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
In the aftermath of World War II, a kind American family sends relief packages to struggling European survivors. In 1946, a six-year-old girl living on a Midwest farm is relieved that her father has returned from the war. When her mother receives a letter from friends in Germany saying they are starving, she sends them a box of wool socks, sweaters, a coat and canned foods. The thank-you letter includes a list of ten families who need shoes and includes tracings of their feet. As fast as the girl and her mother collect used shoes, match them with the tracings and mail them to Europe, more names and tracings arrive. When the girl receives a letter from a little girl in Germany whose father is missing, the two correspond, hoping the German father will return. Based on a true story of the author's grandmother and mother, this touching bit of history humanizes war and demonstrates the difference a few people can make. Nostalgic watercolor illustrations are perfectly paired with collages of letters, photos and tracings the author's grandmother received from the many families she and her friends helped to survive. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423100089
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/5/2007
  • Pages: 40
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.75 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Lita Judge lives in Peterborough, NH with her husband and cat. She grew up with grandparents who were well known ornithologists and who were responsible for starting "The Action", the movement described in this book where ordinary Americans sent food, clothing, and scientific materials to Europeans who had survived WWII.
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