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NF Picture Book
Pages: 32
Themes: The Holocaust, Auschwitz, sisters, bravery, World War II
Publisher: Second Story Press
Pub Date: 18/Apr/2018
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October 22, 2018, TorontoThe Promise is the acclaimed book published this spring for young readers by Tel Aviv-based radio host Pnina Bat Zvi and her Toronto cousin Margie Wolfe about their mothers’ devotion and bravery—and the promise they made to their parents—which helped them survive in Auschwitz. Already being translated into seven languages world-wide, the book is the focus of a program on October 28th, co-sponsored by survivors and their children from the same Polish village as the protagonists.
Pnina Bat Zvi conceived the idea of the book which she then suggested to her cousin Margie Wolfe, who is the publisher of Second Story Press. The Toronto based press is known for its social justice and feminist programme, including prizewinning Holocaust books for children. During Bat-Zvi’s stay in Toronto, the  cousins will be doing presentations on the book at two public events and seven schools and libraries in Toronto and Hamilton. Pnina Bat Zvi and Margie Wolfe are available for interviews Friday, October 26th.
See accompanying: Event Information for Sunday Oct. 28th, Reviews, Interviews

CM: Canadian Review of Materials
... a sensitive, sophisticated picture book that can be used for older children as well. Pnina Bat Zvi and Margie Wolfe have captured both the sense of terror the children lived with every moment as well as the reservoir of devotion and courage that enabled Toby to stand up to a guard.... The Promise tells a terrible story, but one that ends optimistically. It should be added to classroom collections and school libraries to help children learn about the past so society does prevent the rise of racism, nationalism and fascism as those who experienced the horrors of World War II intended. Highly recommended.
Kirkus Reviews
Because Rachel and Toby were real people, young readers can empathize and sympathize, but the story does not try to help them understand the Holocaust: That is beyond human comprehension. Harrowing, moving, and filled with questions that cannot be answered but must be asked. STARRED REVIEW
Publishers Weekly
"An unusual, powerful look at the horrors of life in the camps and the courage and resilience of those who survived."
Booklist
[B]rings to life the horror that so many truly experienced during WWII. The fear, labor, defiance, and love are illustrated with full-page pictures that blend photos and drawings in grays, browns, and blues to express terror and hope. ... The sisters' use of their only worldly goods...to bribe the Nazis into allowing them to reunite with each other when one of them falls ill is a stunning story, and the extensive use of dialogue adds to the impact.
Resource Links
"The Promise is a heart-warming story about the power of love in the most difficult of times...It should be in the collection of every school and public library."
CanLit for LittleCanadians
"Based on a true story, The Promise reveals just one significant but uncelebrated act of heroism during a time and place of brutality. It's a story that needs to be recognized and its characters acclaimed for their survival."
Canadian Children's Booknews
The authenticity of the story and family pictures taken in better times make it a compelling read. It is not an easy account for children to understand, but it is a profound one that will provoke discussion. It reflects the extremes of evil and sacrifice of which mankind if capable, and reveals a spark of compassion in even the harshest individual.
Association of Jewish Libraries, AJL Reviews
The book serves as a thought-provoking addition to others in the genre...
Julie Kirsh, Canadian Jewish News
A compelling story of love, devotion and perseverance in the face of horrific circumstances, this book belongs on the shelves of every school, church and synagogue library.

Awards

Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books of 2018  | 2018 | Commended
Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award 2019-2020  | 0 | Short-listed

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