Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust by Peter Sis

Published by Norton Young Readers

Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued -  Kindle edition by Sís, Peter. Children Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.
Illustrator Peter Sís shares hard stories with children – The Forward

Summary:  Nicholas Winton was a young man living in England when Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, and a friend asked him to come to Prague to help.  England was accepting refugees under the age of 17 if they had families to take them in.  Nicky set up an office in Prague and began collecting names and photos of children.  One of those children was Vera, a 10-year-old girl whose Czech parents wanted to send her to England.  A few months later, Nicky returned to London to recruit families to take the children.  He eventually got almost 700 children (including Vera) on eight trains out of Czechoslovakia.  A ninth train with 250 children never made it out after the borders were closed, and only two children on that train survived the war.  After the war, Vera returned home, but her entire family had perished, so she moved permanently to England.  Nicky never told anyone what he had done until his wife discovered his lists in 1989 and arranged a TV reunion with many of the people he rescued.  Nicky never thought of himself as a hero.  “I only saw what needed to be done.”  Includes a long author’s note with additional information and a photo of a young Nicholas Winton.  64 pages; grades 2-6.

Pros:  Peter Sis uses spare, understated text and folk art-style illustrations to tell this amazing story of a quiet hero and the girl whose life he saved (among many others).  Keep a Kleenex handy as you read this compelling story which is sure to engage readers well into middle school and may be considered for a few awards next year. And while you have the tissues out, watch this YouTube clip of Nicholas and Vera’s 1988 reunion on British television.

Cons:  I wish there had been a few more photos.

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