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 …

Read More

Visiting Classrooms Around the World via Skype™!

Wow, isn’t the new technology wonderful.  I can visit classrooms around the world – speak with students and answer questions about my books – from my home, local library…wherever.

Last year I spoke by Skype™ with students at the American International School in Buenos Aires.  On October 15, of this year, I spoke with fifth graders in North Harlem Elementary School in Harlem, Georgia.  The students had just finished reading my book, Abe’s Honest Words: The Life of Abraham Lincoln,” and asked all sorts of questions about how I put the book together, found the quotes, and then worked with my editor and illustrator.

What’s next?  I hope lots more conversations with students in America and around the world.

We hope to arrange a National Skype™ Tour for Beyond Courage during April 2013.

The Beyond Courage Skype™ Tour will honor Jewish resisters during the Holocaust featured in my book and Holocaust Remembrance Day [Yom HaShoah] which begins in the evening of Sunday, April 7 and ends in the evening of Monday, April 8, 2013.  

We’ll share more information soon!



Read More

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 …

Read More

An Amazing Gathering!

This September 26th marks the 79th anniversary of the remarkable escape by 230 Jewish prisoners from the Novogrudok Labor Camp in Poland – a story and escape I describe in my book and on this site.

Among those who worked round clock to dig a tunnel for the escape was fourteen-year-old Jack [Idel] Kagan, who had tried to escape the previous winter. On that night he had been forced back because of heavy snow and his frostbitten toes, which when he returned to the camp had to be amputated without the benefit of anesthesia.

But, that did not deter Jack from a second try at freedom.

And, on the moonless, windy and rainy night of September 26, 1943, he and the others made their escape. Of the 230 Jews from that escape, one hundred and seventy survived the war. In August of this year, Jack, his wife Barbara, their two sons Michael and Jeffrey, and their ten grandchildren went to the site of the labor camp, now in Belarus. Their group included other survivors, Riva Kaganovitz and Israel …

Read More

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 …

Read More