I was honored this month to be interviewed about my books about women by A Mighty Girl, a website of books, toys, movies, clothing and music with positive messages about girls that honors the potential of all girls to grow and become what they choose to become. In other words, to truly become Mighty Girls!

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Beyond Courage was privileged to win the Flora Stieglitz Strauss award for Non-fiction given out by the Bank Street Children’s Book Committee. I was away during the award ceremony but a live video of all the acceptance speeches are just a click away. R. J. Palacio won the Josette Frank Award for her debut novel, Wonder. J. Patrick Lewis won the Claudia Lewis Award for the best poetry book of the year for young readers, for his anthology National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!

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I don’t know if you’ve read Deborah Hopkinton’s wonderful new book, Annie and Helen, illustrated by Raul Colon, and published by Schwartz & Wade. I always tell children that everyone is unique and every writer is unique, and we write differently because we are different. Deborah Hopkinton and I love to write about history. When we decided to write about Helen Keller, we took different approaches. Click below and you’ll find out how each of us made our decisions on what and how to write about that amazing woman. http://kidlitwhm.blogspot.com/2013/03/helen-keller-revisited-interview-with.html

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On Saturday, January 19, 2013, the wonderful organization of First Book that supplies books for thousands of children was part of the National Day of Service started by President Obama to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This day is a wonderful idea: it’s a chance to start all Americans talking, thinking and working on the many ways we can serve our nation. I was especially proud for First Book included Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in its 7,500 book packs for children. Thousands of kids received books that day.

And someone snapped a photograph of an actor who was very interested in learning about Dr. King.

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BEYOND COURAGE Honored! PW & Booklist Best Books 2012

The Candlewick Press team and I are thrilled and proud  BEYOND COURAGE has been honored by both Publishers Weekly and Booklist! The book is on their prestigious Best Books for 2012 lists – children’s books nonfiction (PW) and on Booklist in the Religion category.

The Publishers Weekly citation on their site:

“In an ambitious and important work, Rappaport shares stories (some never before told) of real-life defiance, offering a heroic alternative to narratives that only portray Jews as helpless victims of Nazi genocide. Instead, she presents stories of dangerous and brave acts of resistance that speak to the human will to survive in the face of hatred and genocide.”

BEYOND COURAGE  is one of four books honored as  PW Best Books 2012 in this category. The others are:

Chuck Close Face Book – by Chuck Close (Abrams)

WE’VE GOT A JOB The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March – by Cynthia Y. Levinson (Peachtree)

One Times Square:  A Center of Change at the Crossroads of the World – by Joe McKendry (Godine)

Many of my other books have been …

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Remembering the Sobibór Escape

Sunday, October 14 marked the 69th anniversary of the escape from the Sobibór death camp.

I spent a good part of the day thinking about the ingenuity, daring and courage of the 365 Jews out of 650 prisoners who successfully escaped that day in 1943. Only forty-seven who escaped survived the Holocaust. The Nazis and their collaborators tracked down and executed the 318 others. The prisoners who had not tried to escape were shot.

My emotions are a bit raw each time as I write about this, but I want to share one memory about my visit to the former site of the Sobibór Death Camp in October 2006 with my husband, Bob Rosegarten, our friend, Rabbi Burt Schuman, and Anna Wiernicka, our guide.

We first visited the museum housed in a small cabin-like structure that served as the former living quarters of an SS officer. The exhibit was small but organized beautifully with a few artifacts, text and images that illuminate the history of the uprising. I gravitated immediately to the photographs of former prisoners. I searched hungrily among …

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Beyond Courage is published!

Today is a special day for me.

My book Beyond Courage is going out into the world and we are starting a conversation here on this new site.

Let’s begin with courage…

What is courage? How do we define who is a hero?  In Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust, I celebrate the Jewish men, women and children who teach us what courage is. During the nightmare of the Holocaust, these individuals showed extraordinary daring, intelligence, and ingenuity.

Some led and participated in dramatic, militant actions such as uprisings, escapes, and rebellions from ghettos, concentration camps and labor camps.  Others worked to find hiding places for Jewish children or smuggle them out of Nazi-occupied countries to neutral countries.  They risked their lives to save others from death, and many lost their lives doing so.  They risked their lives celebrating Jewish holidays in secret, keeping the flame of Jewish education and tradition alive in secret schools, and collecting historical material so if they did not survive, the world would know what life was like under the …

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Candlewick team who helped get Beyond Courage published

It Takes a Village!

There’s a wonderful African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It’s also true, “It takes a village to write a book.”

The photograph you are looking at is of the eleven people at Candlewick Press who helped me “raise my book.” They include my editor, who critiqued more drafts of Beyond Courage than even I want to think about, her wonderful assistant who gathered photo permissions, the graphic designer who exquisitely integrated the archival photographs into the text, the two copy editors, who clarified uncertain words and terms, the tech specialist who made sure the book was prepared for printing, etc. etc. etc.

But that doesn’t cover all the people in my village. In the Acknowledgments of the book, there’s a list of forty people who answered innumerable questions and clarified information and saved me from errors. And I don’t want to forget perhaps my toughest critics, the students of Elmsford High School in Elmsford, New York and of the Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, Virginia, who critiqued the book in embryonic form. As …

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Kids Have the Best Ideas!

There are a lot of things I love about visiting schools:  meeting the kids, hearing what they think about my books, answering their really smart questions and hearing their ideas.

In some of my classroom visits, we dig right in and explore how an idea becomes a book. We look at one of my books – from manuscript to finished book.  The kids see my very clean text and then…the many questions and corrections on the pages from fact checkers and the copy editor, the design and production department ideas.   And, my editor’s notes on the pages and in the margins – in RED ink. Next, we look at the galley which has more notes.  Finally, the finished book!

When kids see all of these marks and changes, they have what I call a ‘Click,” Aha or Oy moment! They realize how many steps and people it takes to create a book. Suddenly, they look at books and their own writing differently. They realize that writers have a team helping …

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