Lisa Tetzner The Black Brothers

ISBN 13: 9781932425048

The Black Brothers

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In the middle of the 19th century, many young men were sent to Milan to work as slaves. Their lives were extremely difficult and many died from the harsh conditions. But Giorgio was able to survive because of the friendship and solidarity he experienced with a secret band known as "the black brothers." Some 100 years later, Lisa Tetzner and her husband Kurt Held wrote about Giorgio's experiences and adventures, and recently the accomplished artist Hannes Binder resurrected the text and added dramatic and impressive engravings, turning the final product into this exciting graphic novel.

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About the Author:

Lisa Tetzner (1894-1963) was born in Germany and died in Switzerland. In 1924 she married the children’s book author Kurt Kläber whose books were published under the pseudonym Kurt Held. A victim of persecution by the National Socialists, Lisa fled with her husband to Switzerland where she had family connections through her mother. She became a Swiss citizen in 1948. After moving to Switzerland, she collaborated with her husband on a number of realistic and socially-conscious novels for young people, the most widely known of which is the nine-volume work The Children From No. 67. This children’s odyssey begins in a tenement house in Berlin in 1933 and ends in Switzerland in 1949 and is considered to be the most important German-language children’s book written in exile. It depicts the end of the Weimar Republic and the beginning of National Socialism in Germany. It has been translated into eight languages and recently reissued in Germany by the German publisher, Sauerlander.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 4-7–Set in 19th-century Italy, this first English translation of a book originally published in Germany in 1941 is the story of 13-year-old Giorgio. His desperately poor parents have no choice but to sell him into servitude as a chimney sweep to pay for his mother's medical bills. On his journey to his new life, Giorgio and about a dozen other boys are mistreated by their guide. Milan does not prove to be any less harsh. Not only does the boy face the daily dangers of the chimneys but also cruel treatment in his master's home and gang fights on the streets. Through all of this, he is able to remain friends with Alfredo, who has become the leader of the secret society, The Black Brothers. Ultimately, it is Giorgio's involvement in it that saves his life and helps him to find a new, loving home. This edition includes a copious number of illustrations that gives the novel its subtitle. The large, black-and-white pictures with deep lines and fine-grained detail reinforce the somber tone of the simple, straightforward prose. Many of the images are full page and have the text overlaid, which moves the story along swiftly while adding depth and meaning to the characters and actions. This unique combination of text and artwork sets this title apart in the expansive world of juvenile historical fiction.–Karen T. Bilton, Somerset County Library, Bridgewater, NJ
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Tetzner, Lisa
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