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NF Picture Book
Pages: 32
Themes: the Holocaust, intolerance, bravery
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 15/Sep/2014
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Magic can be found in the darkest of places... It is the time of the Second World War, and Werner is a boy alone in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Separated from his family, he doesn’t have a friend in the world. He shares his bunk with a quiet man named Herr Levin, who seems too gentle for this terrible place. One night Werner is woken by the sound of prison guards yelling. But it’s not Werner they want, it’s Herr Levin. “Do your magic!” they order him. Magic? In Auschwitz? Werner never expected to meet a magician in such a sad and frightening place. Nor did he expect that his life could be changed, not just by Herr Levin’s gift of magic, but by his gifts of hope and friendship. Includes a special section, with photographs, about the real-life Werner and the Great Nivelli.

Kirkus Reviews
"A moving Holocaust story for younger readers about a young boy sent to Auschwitz and befriended by a magician...A poignant, inspiring story of friendship, hope and survival."
Quill & Quire
"Newland's haunting illustrations feature an appropriately muted palette dominated by light grey, muddy brown, and greyish indigo. Paired with Newland's realistic style, the colours give the impression of looking at old photographs...A wonderful springboard for discussion about the Second World War and the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and should be considered an essential purchase for every public and school library."
Publisher's Weekly
"Kacer (the Holocaust Remembrance series) presents a true tale about children and the Holocaust... Like Kacer’s previous books, this story is infused with hope and a message about human capacity for good in the face of evil."
Gillian O'Reilly, Readerly, National Reading Campaign
Author of over a dozen books chronicling a variety of Holocaust stories, Kacer delivers this piece of history in picture book format. The result is simple, beautifully moving and gently informative... Gillian Newland evocatively illustrates the book in charcoal and sepia tones.
Reesa Cohen, CM Magazine
There is a need to continue to shine a spotlight on the past. The challenge for any writer telling children about this horrific time is balance... truth without all the terrifying details. Kathy Kacer rises to this challenge and knows how important it is that children learn about this tragic time in history. She manages the daunting task to not glorify, sensationalize or sugarcoat all the facts.
Helen K., CanLit for Little Canadians blog
The Magician of Auschwitz is an important book of accepting hope wherever possible in the most hopeless of situations and from the most surprising of sources.
Senta Ross, Canadian Children's Book News
In her first picture book, Kathy Kacer has written a gripping account of survival and hope during one of the darkest times in history. One cannot help but be moved by Levin's gift of magic and friendship that transforms the days of a lonely boy who, in turn, retains a lifelong love of magic.
Isobel Lang, Resource Links
The dark brooding illustrations aptly evoke the darkness and inhumanity of the setting.... This is an excellent tale to teach children about the horrors of the Holocaust.
The San Francisco Book Review
It’s hard to know how and when to introduce the story of the Holocaust to young children… [The Magician of Auschwitz] is a good introductory piece with a compelling true story. This is a fine book, well designed and written for such a young age group.
Marcia Weiss Posner, Jewish Book World
...wonderfully expressive.
Hannah Miller, YA Specialist, Tamaqua Public Library, Kutztown University Book Review
...a needed addition to anyone's library and anyone, no matter how old or how young, can take something to heart from this wonderful book.

Awards

Bank Street College's "Best Children's Books of the Year" (Historical Fiction) Bank Street College's Children's Book Committee | 2015 | Commended
Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award - Picture Book Ontario Arts Foundation | 2015 | Winner
Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Books for Kids & Teens (Spring 2015)  | 2015 | Commended
Rocky Mountain Book Award Alberta Young Reader's Choice Award | 2016 | Short-listed
Ontario Library Association Golden Oak Award  | 2016 | Short-listed

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