ATTENTION ALL PARENTS, COUNSELORS & EDUCATORS:
Full disclosure: Trudy Ludwig is one of my favorite children’s authors as well as a caring human being. All her books (including Confessions of a Former Bully, Sorry, and Trouble Talk) are plain glorious, but now she’s outdone herself.
Trudy has an exciting new nonfiction picture book project for kids that she’s working on called Gifts from the Enemy. When she described her theme I was chilled, cried and then cheered (and all within 30 seconds!) Trudy moved me as only she can do. Her subject is not typical for children’s literature – it’s the holocaust. She interviewed a survivor and is writing a powerful, moving account of his story in a period of immense darkness and unspeakable horror. And she is doing so in a way that children will understand the injustice as well as be moved in heart and mind.
This is an important book. It may be Trudy’s most important. It’s bold, it’s daring, it’s true and oh so needed. I’ve spent years studying the holocaust, genocide, and evil as well as the true exemplars of goodness-the rescuers. I’ve walked the Killing Fields in Cambodia and visited genocide memorials in Auschwitz, Dachau, Prague, Rwanda and Armenia. I’ve seen where those unspeakable horrors took place. No more! And our best hope for “Never Again!” is to raise a generation of compassionate, morally courageous children. Our children must learn about injustice if they are to stand up and speak out for justice. Gift’s from the Enemy can help trigger those courageous conversations we must hold with our children in which we express our values and expectations for tolerance, as well as the dangers of hatred, prejudice and stereotyping.
I am so inspired by this powerful story that I‘ve asked Trudy to share with you why she wrote it and the Kickstarter Campaign that she’s running to get the support she and her project team need to launch this important book.
Please help spread the word about Trudy’s Kickstarter to anyone who understands how crucial it is for a book like this to get in the hands of kids to promote kindness, compassion, and acceptance.
Here is Trudy…in her own words…describing the “story” behind her latest book, Gifts from the Enemy.
Thank you, Trudy. It’s an honor to know you and call you “friend.” Your project will make a difference on our children and their world. May it be a world of peace and justice.
Children’s Author, Trudy Ludwig, “In her own words”© 2013 by Craig Orback, Illustrator
There are those who say that what I lived through had never happened. But I’m here to tell you that it did. I am an ordinary person with an extraordinary past.
Excerpt from Gifts from the Enemy
When my son was in middle school, some kids were saying that the Holocaust was a lie, that it never happened, and called other students “dirty Jews.” I and another parent were livid when we heard about this, so we met with the school principal to express our concerns. The principal, who was just as horrified as we were about the situation, readily agreed to our suggestion of inviting a Holocaust survivor from the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center to speak to the kids. A few weeks later, I was given the honor of transporting Alter Wiener, a teen Holocaust survivor of five prison camps and the author of From a Name to a Number, to school for his speaking engagement.
Alter Wiener sharing his life story with middle school students in Hubbard, OR, in 2012.
As I sat in the audience, listening to Mr. Wiener poignantly share his life experiences, a children’s story started brewing in my head. “What if,” I thought to myself, “I could capture his experiences and the important life lessons he learned in an age-appropriate way for children in grades 3 to 6? What if I could craft the story in such a way that would encourage youth to do better, to be better, in how they treat their fellow human beings?”
I readily admit that this was a daunting task, but it was one that I knew in my heart I had to do. I approached Mr. Wiener with my idea, and he gave me both his personal and legal blessing to write the nonfiction children’s story Gifts from the Enemy
© 2013 by Craig Orback, Illustrator
“Why,” I asked myself, “Would this German stranger risk her life not once but 30 times for me? Why me?” That’s when I learned my most important lesson in life.”
Excerpt from Gifts from the Enemy
Gifts from the Enemy is a timely story of hope for anyone who has ever been devalued or treated poorly by others—not for what they’ve done but simply for being who they are. To help parents and educators generate thoughtful discussions in the classroom and at home, I made sure to include a brief history overview, vocabulary, discussion questions, and adult-guided activities to foster kindness and acceptance of others.
I am collaborating on this project with Craig Orback, an amazing professional illustrator, and White Cloud Press, a small independent Northwest publisher. White Cloud Press wants to use Gifts from the Enemy as their premier book to launch their HUMANKIND™ Project to encourage people to get involved in kindness projects around the world.
The publishing industry is going through some major changes. With the big publishing houses get bigger through corporate mergers, and the independent presses quickly diminishing in numbers, now, more than ever, it truly takes a village to support independent presses that provide readers with inspirational, thought-provoking books.
Award-winning children’s author Trudy Ludwig with Holocaust survivor Alter Wiener and illustrator Craig Orback
We would be oh so grateful if you could help us to make this book happen by pledging your support on Kickstarter. Simply click here or go to www.kickstarter.com and type in GIFTS FROM THE ENEMY in the search bar to quickly access our campaign.
By funding this project, you’re supporting a creative alliance that believes in the power of stories to help plant more seeds of kindness in the world. You’ll also get to take advantage of some great funding incentives, such as your own Gifts from the Enemy hardback book signed by the author and illustrator, “I Believe in HumanKIND™” tee shirts, a phone chat or Skype session with me, and more—depending on your pledge level.
When I work on my children’s stories I surround my office with inspirational quotes to encourage me as I write stories to help kids thrive in life. The one that I’ve posted on my wall next to Craig’s illustration of Alter Wiener pretty much sums up where I’m coming from with Gifts from the Enemy:
“If we are to reach real peace in this world, we shall have to begin with the children.”
Trudy Ludwig is a nationally recognized children’s advocate, speaker, and bestselling author of seven books that help children address peer cruelty. Her titles include My Secret Bully, Just Kidding, Sorry!, Trouble Talk, Too Perfect, Confessions of a Former Bully, and Better than You. Trudy presents at schools and conferences throughout the US and has received high praise from leading experts, educators, parents, and organizations for her work. Her eighth book, The Invisible Boy, a Junior Library Guild Selection, will be released by Knopf/Random House Children’s Books in October 2013. For more information about Trudy and her books, visit www.trudyludwig.com