I will be doing a FREE National Skype tour on April 3, 4, and 5, coming right into your classrooms, allowing me to connect with more young people and have them learn about the heroic teenagers, men and women in Beyond Courage. In the Skype hour, I will talk to your students about my research and how I shaped this book, but I would also love to hear student reactions and thoughts about this important subject of resistance.

The dates were chosen to honor Jewish resisters featured in my book in connection with Yom HaShoah a few days after.

If you are interested, please email anne.irza-leggat@candlewick.com. Candlewick will provide a copy of their Teacher’s Guide with classroom and discussion questions, and a forty percent discount and free shipping on all books to your school.

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Celebrating Martin Luther King’s Birthday at the Hacienda Heights Library in Hacienda Heights, CA

I received the most wonderful letter from a librarian in California, and I want to share it with you. I wrote my book, Martin’s Big Words to honor Dr. King, and when I find out that it’s been read to and by children, and that they grasp Dr. King’s ideas, it thrills me. So here’s the letter from librarian Margo Tanenbaum.


Dear Doreen,

I’m dropping you a line because I thought you would enjoy hearing about how I incorporated your wonderful book Martin’s Big Words at the family storytime at my library in honor of Dr. King’s birthday.  Your text became a reader’s theatre script; I created a narrator (played by myself) and split Dr. King’s parts into Martin 1, 2, and 3.  I recruited three children who regularly attend my story time the week before, and gave them the script.  At the story time, I read the narration, and the three children alternated with Dr. King’s inspirational words.  One was a boy only five or six years old who had practiced diligently with his father. My …

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My Grandchildren’s Special Hanukkah!

This Hanukkah was a very special Hanukkah for my grandchildren who had decided that they would forgo their usual presents to give Christmas presents to children on Staten Island whose families had lost so much during Hurricane Sandy.

We pooled the money we usually spend on gifts; the kids, ages 10 to 19, took the money and bought presents for others. The presents filled up the back of a pick-up truck.  A Yoga instructor in Staten Island transformed her studio into a store where Staten Island parents could come and select Christmas presents for their children.

This gesture of these six children made us adults proud.  It belongs to a Jewish tradition, Tikkun olam, (“repairing the world” or “healing and restoring the world”) which suggests that we all have shared responsibility with the Creator “to heal, repair and transform the world.” Two of my eight wonderful grandchildren are celebrating Christmas and they too will be pooling money for Hurricane Sandy families.

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Hanukkah, Keeping One’s Faith

In Toronto every Hanukkah, Israel Cohen lights his “most original” menorah. It consists of eight glasses half filled with colored water. Olive oil rests on top of the water. Eight wicks are inserted in plastic floaters and lit.

Hanukkah will be here soon starting sundown on December 8, and my thoughts go in two directions this year. The first is that our family has decided that we will not be giving presents to the grandchildren this year. Hurricane Sandy has made all too vivid of how so many have lost so much, and we are pooling our money to give to some families caught in the aftermath of that horrendous storm.

Approaching Hanukkah has also taken me back to Israel Cohen in December 1943, a forced laborer in Kaufering IV, one of the Dachau sub-camps in Germany. I think every Hanukkah from now on will take me back to Israel’s story. In the nightmare of their imprisonment, Cohen and his fellow prisoners found a way to observe this holiday which meant so much to them.

Keeping One’s Faith – …

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Where in the World is Doreen Rappaport?

I’ve been on a whirlwind of traveling and it’s been exciting and rewarding.  In October I went to Massachusetts, New York, Washington, DC and Florida.

In Florida, I visited with kids at Beth Am Day School in Miami and then to Sinai Academy in North Miami Beach where I met with kids and their parents.   Here I am with some of the great kids I met in Beth Am.

Then off, to the Dave and Mary Alpert Jewish Community Center in Miami for their Annual Holocaust Workshop for Public and Private School Teachers. The Jewish Book Council sponsored my visit.  It was a great honor to be on a program with Dr. Miriam Klein Kassenoff, a prominent Holocaust scholar who fled Nazi Europe when she was a small child, and Dr. Mary Johnson, a historian of so many subjects it takes your breath away. Dr. Johnson is part of the wonderful organization, Facing History and Ourselves. I spoke to teachers about my book, Beyond Courage, and …

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Celebrating Kids, Lady Liberty & Art!


At Westmere Elementary School in Guilderland, New York, students read Lady Liberty: A Biography.  They talked about the meaning of this magnificent statue, and why they thought it was important.  Then they created their own monuments to people and concepts they believed were important.


The Family Monument by Matea

The Eyes of Liberty by Benjamin

The Statue of Fairness by Adam

Lou Gehrig’s Grave by Reynaldo

Doggie Monument by Jasmina

The Statue of Liberty suffered terrible damage during Hurricane Sandy and is temporarily closed, but at sunset you can look out from the harbor downtown and see its torch lit up.   New Yorkers and people all over the world thank Musco Lighting, for that …

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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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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!



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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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Celebrate the Caldecott, Courage, Pottery & Radishes!

Speaking with other educators – especially librarians – is one of the rewards of being a writer of children’s books! In September, I spoke at an ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children) National Institute in Indianapolis and met hundreds of librarians from the Midwest, other authors and illustrators. ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.

This year’s Institute was the kick-off for the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Caldecott Award which along with the Newbery Medal is the most important recognition for excellence in children’s literature. So of course, it is one of my favorite anniversaries to celebrate!

At ALSC I was on a panel about writing non-fiction books for children with my friend and collaborator Bryan Collier and April Pulley Sayre who writes wonderful read-aloud books on natural history.

Bryan is both an award-winning illustrator and author. Our project together, Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King Jr., won numerous awards. It is read in classrooms across North America each year to honor Dr. King on …

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