Irena Sendler, born in 1910 to a Polish Catholic family, was raised to respect all people regardless of their race or religion. As an adult she became a social worker, and after the Germans occupied Poland during World War II, Irena knew she had to help the Jews who were packed into the Warsaw Ghetto. She began by smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghetto, then turned to smuggling children out of the ghetto. Using false papers and creative means of escape, Irena risked her own life to rescue Jewish children and hide them safely in orphanages, convents, and foster homes. Hoping to reunite the families after the war, Irena kept secret lists of the children's identities, which were buried in jars under an apple tree.
Motivated by her humanity and armed with compassion and a belief in human dignity, Irena Sendler proved to the world that an ordinary person can accomplish extraordinary deeds. This new chapter book format includes illustrations as well as sidebars on related subjects, a timeline, a glossary, and recommended reading.
About the Author
Marcia Vaughan Crews has written numerous books for young readers, including picture books, beginning readers, and both fiction and nonfiction series. She was inspired to tell Irena Sendler's story after reading her obituary in 2008 and discovering more about her through the work of Life in a Jar: The Irena Sendler Project, an organization dedicated to bringing Irena Sendler’s story to the world. Crews lives in Tacoma, Washington.
Ron Mazellan is the illustrator of several award-winning picture books. He is also a professor of art at Indiana Wesleyan University. Mazellan was drawn to this story by Irena Sendler's character and her multiple selfless acts of kindness and courage toward those who had little hope of survival. Mazellan lives in Marion, Indiana.
Table of Contents
A Daughter's Promise 4
Germany after World War I 8
The Warsaw Ghetto 15
Irena the Smuggler 18
Concentration and Extermination Camps 22
Escape from the Ghetto 24
The Gestapo 35
Irena's Jars 39
Elzbieta Ficowska 42
Glossary and Pronunciation Guide 47
Text Sources 54
Sidebar Sources 57
Recommended Further Reading 62
About the Author and Illustrator 64