cover image Stars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport

Stars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport

Caren Stelson, illus. by Selina Alko. Carolrhoda, $19.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5415-9868-3

Stelson (A Bowl Full of Peace) employs a communal we to narrate this story of 669 primarily Jewish children of the Czech Kindertransport rescued by British humanitarian Nicholas Winton (1909–2015). The 1938 Prague–set opening evokes sensory memories of comfortable childhoods: a picnic, sweet honey cake, ice-skating, hot cocoa. But as refugees arrive and Nazi forces approach, parents start making “arrangements” with an unnamed man. Soon, the children are told that they’re “taking a holiday to England,” with heartrending goodbyes preceding the children’s travels to English foster homes. Five decades later, a scrapbook is unearthed, revealing Winton as the man whose planning saved not only them, but also “our children, our grandchildren, and all their children to come.” Impressionistic acrylic, collage, and pencil art by Alko (I Is for Immigrants) is embellished throughout with sparkling stars and round yellow orbs—reminders of “the stars of the night and the sun of the day” that, the children’s parents’ say, are “the messenger of our thoughts and love,” as well as, perhaps, of Winton’s indomitable spirit. An afterword provides extensive historical detail. Ages 7–11. Author’s agent: Rubin Pfeffer, Rubin Pfeffer Content. Illustrator’s agent: Marietta Zacker, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Feb.)