Marcia Vaughan Irena's Jars of Secrets

ISBN 13: 9781600604393

Irena's Jars of Secrets

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9781600604393: Irena's Jars of Secrets

Irena Sendler, born in 1910 to a Polish Catholic family, was raised to respect all people, regardless of their race or religion. As an adult she became a social worker, and after the Germans occupied Poland during World War II, Irena knew she had to help the Jews who were packed into the Warsaw Ghetto. She began by smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghetto, then turned to smuggling children out of the ghetto. Using false papers and creative means of escape, Irena risked her own life to rescue Jewish children and hide them safely in orphanages, convents, and foster homes. Hoping to reunite the families after the war, Irena kept secret lists of the children s identities, which were buried in jars under an apple tree. Motivated by her humanity and armed with compassion and a belief in human dignity, Irena Sendler proved to the world that an ordinary person can accomplish extraordinary deeds.

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About the Author:

MARCIA VAUGHAN has written numerous books for young readers, including picture books, beginning readers, and both fiction and nonfiction series. She was inspired to write Irena s Jars of Secrets after reading Irena Sendler s obituary in 2008 and discovering more about her through the work of Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, an organization dedicated to bringing Irena Sendler s story to the world. Vaughan lives in Tacoma, Washington.

Review:

Finding a way to impart even a small understanding of the Holocaust to children is a task fraught with difficulties: How can anyone comprehend such insanity? Vaughan tells the true story without embellishment, employing stark, unadorned syntax that never wavers into pathos, sentiment or myth. It is a definition of quiet heroism. Mazellan s very dark, deeply shadowed oil paintings capture the unabated terror and sorrow. Children should read this work with an adult who is armed with some knowledge of the material. Powerful. --Kirkus Reviews

Vaughan and Mazellan (You Can Be a Friend) have created a fine piece of historical storytelling, with brisk, reportorial prose and shadowy, impressionistic oil paintings that offer gripping testimony to the full horror and high stakes of the times. --Publishers Weekly

Mazellan s dramatic oil paintings mostly in appropriate dark, somber grays and browns cover most of each spread, leaving a buff-colored strip to hold the succinctly written, yet descriptive, text that can be understood even by those who have little or no knowledge of World War II or the Holocaust. A two-page recap that includes the impressive awards and honors bestowed upon Sendler is appended. --School Library Journal

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