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Hope triumphs over fear in this poignant and impactful true story of the Holocaust—a delicate introduction to World War Two history for older picture book readers.
During World War Two, in the concentration camp Terezin, a group of Jewish children and their devoted teacher planted and nurtured a smuggled-in sapling. Over time fewer and fewer children were left to care for the little tree, but those who remained kept lovingly sharing their water with it. When the war finally ended and the prisoners were freed, the sapling had grown into a strong five-foot-tall maple.
Nearly eighty years later the tree’s 600 descendants around the world are thriving . . . including one that was planted at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2021. Students will continue to care for it for generations to come, and the world will remember the brave teacher and children who never gave up nurturing a brighter future.
About the Author
Elisa Boxer is an Emmy-winning journalist whose writing has been featured in publications including The New York Times and Fast Company. She is the author of several acclaimed nonfiction picture books. She lives in Maine with her family and has written this story to honor her Jewish family members who died during the Holocaust.
Alianna Rozentsveig is a Jewish illustrator who was born in the USSR and now lives in a small town in Israel. She graduated from the visual communications department at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, with a specialization in illustration. This is her second book, and first book published in the U.S.
"Elisa Boxer and illustrator Alianna Rozentsveig strike a reportorial tone in measured prose and softly textured digital art of largely pale-skinned historical figures, conveying both the necessity and limits of hope in the darkest of times. Anauthor’s note concludes.." —Publishers Weekly
"Art and text combine for an honest yet optimistic and age-appropriate portrayal of a difficult topic. A gentle, accessible take on resilience." —Kirkus Review
★ "Focusing the narrative on the tree that came to be known as Etz Chaim, the Tree of Life, Boxer threads the delicate needle of keeping hope alight while also writing with age-appropriate frankness about the horrors of the Holocaust and the reckoning with its aftermath. This sensitive depiction of the experience of Terezin’s children is an essential addition to classroom collections andcurricula."
—The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books