Paul B. Janeczko's stirring new collection of poems goes inside the walls of the notorious camp to portray the indomitable spirit of those incarcerated there.
Hitler hailed Terezin (Theresienstadt) as a haven for artistic Jews, when in reality the Czech concentration camp was little more than a way station to the gas chambers. In his second book inspired by devastating history, acclaimed poet Paul B. Janeczko gives voice to this heartrending creative community: its dignity, resilience, and commitment to art and music in the face of great brutality. The many memorable characters he conjures include a child who performs in the camp's now famed production of Brundibar, a man who lectures on bedbugs, and a boy known as "Professor," who keeps a notebook hidden in his shoe. Accented with dramatic illustrations by prisoners, found after WW II, Janeczko's spare and powerful poems convey Terezin's tragic legacy on an intimate, profoundly moving scale.
About the Author
Paul B. Janeczko is the author of WORLDS AFIRE, a collection of poems about the 1944 circus fire in Hartford, which was named an American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults. Among his award-winning poetry anthologies are A POKE IN THE I, A KICK IN THE HEAD, and A FOOT IN THE MOUTH, all illustrated by Chris Raschka. He lives in Hebron, Maine.
Nakedly stark accounts of circumstances unimaginable to most people today outside the pages of powerful writing like Janeczko's. Somewhat disturbing imagery makes this book most suitable for mature readers, but its intimate glimpses of life inside the Holocaust will likely rank it among the most worthwhile teen reads for years to come.
—Library Media Connection (starred review)
Janeczko draws on factual records to imagine fictional characters, who narrate each poem in this searing collection. The inmates speak in spare, accessible free verse, and the plain words contrast with the enormity of their personal heartbreak, cruelty, and loss. ...Together, the images and the poems capture unforgettable truths