Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin
Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin
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Annotation: Covers the years during which Friedl Dicker, a Jewish woman from Czechoslovakia, taught art to children at the Terezin Concentration Camp. Includes art created by teacher and students, excerpts from diaries, and interviews with camp survivors.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #101004
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Holiday House
Copyright Date: 2000
Edition Date: c2000
Pages: 47 p.
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-8234-1461-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-30006-2
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-8234-1461-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-30006-4
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 99012282
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
Rubin has written an incisive introduction to Dicker-Brandeis, who taught the children of Terezin concentration camp to express their fears and hopes in drawing and poetry. The emphasis on the visual--reproduction of children's art--plus the use of the picture book format make this a notable introduction to the Holocaust for younger readers yet of interest to older audiences as well. Bib., ind.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-A profoundly moving testimonial to the resilience of the human spirit under intolerable conditions. Sent to the Terezin concentration camp (perhaps more widely known under its German name, Theresienstadt), art teacher Dicker-Brandeis packed art supplies in her luggage rather than personal items. Here, in a poignant narrative, is a record of her wonderful influence over hundreds of doomed youngsters, terrified by the separation from their families. Her teaching ability and artistic talents were instrumental in providing an island of sanity in a horrific situation, and in giving an outlet to the children's emotions. Lavishly illustrated with artworks by the Terezin children (preserved in two suitcases in a barracks attic), the book is a chronicle of light in the blackest of hours, and of a despicable period in human history. A list of references-books, videocassettes, recordings, and Web sites (many readily usable by young people)-is included. Elegant in appearance, devastating in content, almost overwhelming in its quiet intensity, this bookis a shining augmentation to the literature of the Holocaust.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Of the 15,000 children who passed through Terezin, only 100 survived. But their artwork and writings live on as testimony to their lives and spirits. This heartbreaking picture book tells the children's story by focusing on their remarkable art teacher, Friedl Dicker-Brandeis, a Jewish artist from Czechoslovakia, who took art supplies and books with her to the concentration camp and ran secret classes for the children. She and nearly all her pupils perished at Auschwitz, but after the war, 5,000 of the children's drawings, paintings, and collages were discovered hidden in two suitcases. The pictures are now exhibited around the world, and many of them are beautifully reproduced on the pages of this book. Some of the work is naive in style; some is sophisticated. There are portraits, self-portraits, and pictures that show horrific camp conditions and dreams of home (for example, a family Passover supper). The facts, including the dates, in the brief captions make you return to the pictures (Robert Bondy painted empty landscapes over and over again with his village in the distance). Rubin interviewed several survivors, and she integrates their personal testimonies with the history of the camp. This is an excellent book to use across the curriculum in Holocaust studies, in art, history, and literature classes with middle-grade and older readers. Rubin's detailed references and sources include books, documentary films and videos, and Web sites to help students who want to know more. There's no sensationalism here. Everything is distanced, but the sense of loss is overwhelming. (Reviewed July 2000)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 44-46) and index.
Word Count: 5,719
Reading Level: 6.2
Interest Level: 5-9
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 6.2 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 43783 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:5.9 / points:4.0 / quiz:Q24426
Lexile: 890L

In December 1942 Freidl Dicker-Brandeis packed her suitcase for the last time. What did she fill it with? Art supplies. Brushes, paints, and paper were her luggage when she was forced by Nazi soldiers to move to the Terezin concentration camp. An artist and art instructor, Freidl used her limited supplies to bring a world of beauty and fantasy to children in the camp--most of whom would die tragically at Auschwitz. This story reveals how flashes of kindness can bring joy and relief--like fireflies in the dark. The story is enhanced with photographs and reproductions of the amazing artwork completed by Freidl Dicker-Brandeis, her students, and her colleagues during their time at Terezin.

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