The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak
The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak

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Annotation: Story of a courageous man who, during one of the grimmest moments in world history, dedicated his life's work and ultimately his life itself to children.
Genre: Biographies
Catalog Number: #40140
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition Date: 2009
Pages: 40
Availability: Special Order Only - Contact Customer Service at +1 800 637-6581 or +1 217 243-5451
ISBN: Publisher: 0-374-34136-2 Perma-Bound: 0-605-26964-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-374-34136-7 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-26964-4
Dewey: 921
LCCN: 2008016188
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Inspiring is a rare word for a stark Holocaust title, but it is true of this picture-book biography that never sentimentalizes the horror as it describes individual courage and sacrifice. Drawing on Korczak's Ghetto Diary (1978), Polish author-illustrator Bogacki tells his story in quiet, clear prose and softly textured illustrations that evoke both old European portraits and famous photos of children during the Holocaust. Korczak gave up his medical practice to create an orphanage for Jewish children, and a long section describes their daily education, including the lessons he taught of independence and forgiveness. After the Nazis invaded Poland, he moved the orphanage into the ghetto, refused his chance to escape, and died with the children in Treblinka. The moving acrylic paintings include close-ups of Korczak and individual children, as well as the increasingly crowded orphanage, while the endpapers show Warsaw before World War II and then the devastated city in 1945. The back matter includes a map and detailed source notes. An effective companion to David Adler's A Hero and the Holocaust (2002).
Horn Book
With simple, unadorned prose thoughtfully positioned within the soft acrylic illustrations that fill the pages, Bogacki describes the life of Korczak, a tireless advocate for children's rights. The book ends with Korczak's deportation to Treblinka with his orphans, and while the pictures are honest in depicting even this journey to the death camps, their gentleness inspires empathy rather than horror.
Kirkus Reviews
Polish-born Bogacki writes and illustrates a passionate picture-book biography of the Holocaust-era children's advocate and doctor. Early Polish childhood life and interests quickly move into the doctor's student days and expand to his renowned, democratically run orphanage. Korczak's belief that children thrive when they are well cared for and learn to care for one another was the hallmark of his work. He steadfastly stayed with his children during the Nazi invasion and deportation and ultimately perished with them at Treblinka, but his legacy lives on. His defense of the rights of children is the forerunner of the established 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. And though this is a story that ends in dark despair, the author succeeds in creating a positive, upbeat atmosphere with his palette of muted reds, blues and greens, as opposed to that employed by Bill Farnsworth in David A. Adler's A Hero and the Holocaust (2002), which was dominated by gloomy, dark-brown hues. (historical, author's, source notes) (Picture book biography. 7-10)
Publishers Weekly

Beginning with Korczak’s imaginative childhood in 19th-century Warsaw, Bogacki’s (Daffodil, Crocodile) tender but somber book explores the humanitarian’s commitment to children’s rights. He is shown fighting hunger among the indigent, treating children wounded in the Russo-Japanese war and creating an innovative orphanage with a self-governing body of child residents who, despite being relocated to the ghetto during WWII, Korczak refused to abandon. The recurring image of a crowned boy riding a horse, from Korczak’s children’s book King Matt the First, doesn’t temper the stark reality of Korczak and the orphans’ eventual demise in a concentration camp. Ages 5–up. (Sept.)

School Library Journal
Gr 47 Korczak was a doctor, writer, and advocate for children's rights in pre-World War II Poland. He ran an orphanage for Jewish children and acted as a beloved father figure right up until he and the children perished together in Treblinka. Bogacki's picture-book biography is heartfelt and well researched. However, it seems overwhelmed by its own subject, as the author condenses the details of Korczak's upbringing and the context of the Holocaust into a backdrop for the story of the orphanage. As a result, Korczak doesn't come across as the fascinating man he was, and the book is a bit confusing. Bogacki's childlike illustrations seem wrong for the dark subject matter and dark scenes, particularly since most children don't learn about the Holocaust until fifth grade, and these pictures seem too young for that audience. Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL
Word Count: 2,049
Reading Level: 5.9
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.9 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 134322 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:6.3 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q48853
Lexile: 1030L

In 1912, a well-known doctor and writer named Janusz Korczak designed an extraordinary orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, Poland. Believing that children were capable of governing themselves, he encouraged the orphans to elect a parliament, run a court, and put out their own weekly newspaper. Even when Korczak was forced to move the orphanage into the Warsaw Ghetto after Hitler's rise to power, and couldn't afford to buy food and medicine for his charges, he never lost sight of his ideals. Fully committed to giving his children as much love as possible during a terrifying time, Korczak refused to abandon them. In his most beautiful and heartfelt book to date, with evocative acrylic illustrations and spare, poignant prose, Tomek Bogacki tells the story of a courageous man who, during one of the grimmest moments in world history, dedicated his life's work-- and ultimately his life itself--to children.


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