Cover Image: Stars of the Night

Stars of the Night

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Member Reviews

Stelson performs a difficult task, writing about an event from the Holocaust in a way that can be shared with younger readers, those in early elementary grades.  The writing is poetic; the pictures are beautiful, and both are tinged with deep sadness.  The end matter is crucial to put the story in perspective, but isn't necessarily for the youngest readers.  I especially loved learning about Nicholas Winton, a man who did an amazing thing but never sought the limelight.
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Wow. This book has brought me to tears and left me speechless. 1000% buying for my classroom.

“Prague was everyone’s peaceful home, until it wasn’t.”

Stars of the Night tells the true story of 669 young people that traveled on the Kindertransport from Prague to Britain. It is an ode to Nicholas Winton, who not only planned this transport from start to finish, but also saved many lives and the futures of families. The book takes an innocent view of children on a very heavy topic and it is done so very well. The back of the book includes a timeline and additional information for older readers. There are also pictures of the children as adults and a memorial. The illustrations are fantastic and uses a mixed medium approach, adding depth and texture to many of the pictures.
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Save one life, save the world. What a beautiful concept. Books like this have to be written so these stories can be passed along. Not only to inspire others but to also memorialize the past.  Nicholas Winton saved 669 children and before reading this book I had never heard his name. Thank you for writing this.
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This is a tale of “defiance and survival in the face of tyranny.”

It begins in 1938 Prague. It’s peaceful and pleasant. Until it isn’t. When the Germans invade Prague in 1939, danger intensifies for Jewish families in Prague. Families must make some hard choices. 

A “kindertransport” is organized to help Jewish children escape to England, where they are taken in to “foster homes” for the duration of World War II. When the war is finally over, the children return to Prague in search of their parents. Most were never found. The children slowly begin to understand. No one had saved their parents. But who saved them? 

Fifty years later, a scrapbook is discovered in an old trunk in an attic. It contains all the details about the identities of the children and their escape. They finally meet the ordinary looking man who organized their escape: Nicholas Winton. He saved 669 children – as well as their children, grandchildren, and all their children to come. 

Told from a child’s point of view, the story is historical but not overwhelming for young readers. The vocabulary is age appropriate and easy to understand. A brief overview, explanation, and timeline of the Kindertransport Movement is included.

I've read about the Kindertransport elsewhere. But this is my first acquaintance with Nicholas Winton. Stars of the Night is a remarkable story about a remarkable man and merits a wide audience.
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"You're taking a holiday to England."

"Aren't you coming?"

"No, my loves. But good people will be there to take care of you."

Would you have the strength to send your children away, knowing that may be the only way to save their lives?

Prague, 1939. As war draws near, we witness heartbreaking moments as mothers put their children on a train bound for England . . . bound for life. They are told to look to the stars and the sun as a reminder of their parents' love

Decades later some of the now-grown children managed to discover the name of the man who saved them from certain death: Nicholas Winton, a banker and humanitarian who saved 669 youngsters from being murdered by the Nazis.

There are several pages of factual information at the back of the book that explain the timeline, and how he managed to perform this feat.

This is an affecting, and deeply emotional read with lovely mixed-media illustrations by Selina Alko.
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me review this book. This book tells the story of how Nicholas Winton was able to save many Jewish children from the Holocaust. The illustrations were great and I like how each page had a unique look to it. Every kid needs to read this.
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"Save one life, save the world," is the message this book begins and ends with, from the mother who almost couldn't let her child go, to the train pulling away with sobbing faces, to many years later when teenagers return to Prague to search for their parents. Though "no one had saved our parents. But who was the man who saved us?" 

The collective voice of the 669 children saved by Nicholas Winton tells this gut-wrenching story, illustrated in textured, complex layers by Selina Alko. Extensive back matter fills out the history of the Kindertransport and one righteous hero.
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This is a true story about the Jewish Czech children who were sent to England (and therefore saved) during WWII.  It is beautifully told and illustrated. In fact, the illustrations are extraordinary. Full of life and melancholy. I really did love the art in this one, and the actual story was great. Here's the deal.  The last few pages, when the author talks about the person who made it all possible, well, the tone shifts into a type of veneration that feels gross to me.  I know if a person had saved my life I , too would be eternally grateful, but this is not a letter to this man, it's an informative picture book for children, and I just thought that it could have been more straightforward and less effusive in the depiction of this guy who, sure, did great things for these children but is still a human being.  I don't know, maybe I'm making too much of this.  But I just didn't like how much the ending of the book and the information after focused on the kinda sainthood of this one person. It didn't feel good to me.  3 stars.
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Thank you to NetGalley, Lerner Publishing Group, and Carolrhoda Books for the e-ARC to read and review. This is an absolutely beautifully written book that tells the story of the Czech Kindertransport through the perspective of the young children who were saved from Nazi persecution by a mystery helper - later revealed as Nicholas Winton. The subject matter is difficult, and it will bring up all a full range of emotions, but it's also delicately handled in a way that young readers will be able to understand and ultimately learn important history from. The text draws readers into the uncertainty and fear the children faced as they learned that the abstract concept of war would be something that permanently changed their families, homes, and safety. The story places individual experiences at the forefront (what it would be like for specific kids to leave their specific homes/family members/neighborhoods/familiar safeties etc.) while also leaving room for readers to also appreciate what a momentous undertaking it was for this refugee mission to take place at all - and ultimately save hundreds of children's lives. The collage-style illustrations are remarkable additions to the story, and in the end notes we also learn that there's a lot of color symbolism at play to reflect some real-life children who experienced this firsthand. There's also a lot of context, notes, and references at the end which should encourage further learning and questioning.
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I am a firm believer in the need of history to be told again and again, and more, and from various points of view, and children need to know what happened in the world and what is happening in other parts of the world.
This story was just this. Told from a child’s point of view, war and fear and everything. 
It also gives a great opportunity to tell about Czech Republic now – and how it used to be two countries into one, even if you or your child have never visited any of the two countries. It also gives an opportunity to talk about antisemitism and racism in general.
Also, illustrations in this book is just pure art. Beautiful, so beautiful.
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A worthy addition to the picture books we have about WWII. The illustrations give the impression that the children are telling the story themselves. This, along with the use of "we" focus the story on the many children in the kindertransport and their experience. It could have been the story of Nicholas Winton but instead, seemingly as he would have preferred based on his own actions, it is the story of the children and their families. Well done.
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A very effective telling of the process and impact of the Czech Kindertransport that rescued 669 children from Nazi terrorism and death. Told from the point of view of the children--what they saw, heard and thought--and accompanied by emotionally packed illustrations, this book captures both the information needed and the feelings of those involved. Because of the hard work of one individual, Nicholas Winton, a man who never sought reward or recognition, these 669 children lived to tell their stories and ultimately recognize this dedicated man. This is an important story, well-told and illustrated. An excellent choice for reading and sharing. Highly recommended.
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As I read this book to my children, I held back tears. The gradual change of the artwork and the child’s voice depicts the story so well. The book is very well written and the mixed media illustrations bring another element of history and a “scrap book” look that feels familiar. This book would fit into the category of “living books” for me. A compelling story that brings up emotion in both children, and the adults who will read them this depiction of a true story. Well done. A beautiful memorial of a tragic, yet beautiful story.
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Excellent nonfiction picture book on an important topic. Great illustrations. I’m considering adding it to my children’s literature course syllabus.
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This book literally gave me chills to read.  I think it is SO important to share the stories of those who experienced the Holocaust.  This book is beautifully written and details those children who were sent alone to safety, and uncertain of their future.  The art is beautiful throughout the book and the message of save one life, save the world will stick with you long after the story is over.
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I had never heard about the children of the Czech Kinder transport. this was a heartbreaking story, yet so enlightening! This was from the kids point of view, but it was hard for them to understand war. This quote really stood out to me, "There will be times when you'll feel lonely and homesick. Let the stars of the night and the sun of the day be the messenger of our thoughts and love". This could be used as a primary/secondary resource. The collage/acrylic paint/colored pencil illustrations are beautiful.
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This is a lovely book. The illustrations were both gorgeous and heartbreaking, but would draw young readers in. It’s a serious topic and story that needs to be told and was done in a gentle way. I loved it.
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I received a copy of this book through Netgalley. This is my honest review. 

The language in this book is pretty simple, or least felt very simple to me considering the subject matter. But I recognize that it's simple to be relatable for children. I am absolutely biased on this point, because WWII has always fascinated me, but even with simple language, I would have read this book to my children over and over again. It is longer than many children's books I've read, but I feel the story is so important. I also think the simple language would help children to understand what happened back then without raising questions parents might not feel comfortable answering depending on the child's age. I could see this book making kids want to learn more about that time in our history. 

The illustrations were different than I'm used to seeing as well. It was almost like a collection of mixed media pieces bundled together. Some pages featured cut-out and painted newspaper articles. Others look like oil or water color painted notebook pages. It was an interesting collection at the very least, and I wonder if those choices were made to replicate the way the children whose stories are being told would have created art. 

Overall I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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Stars of the Night is absolutely gorgeous.
Not only is it a story that needs to be told, it is incredibly well written for a child's point of view.
This is so beautifully designed and presented.
All the stars for this book!
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Thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for the eARC! 

It was very interesting to read about the children who traveled to escape the war alone.  This is a great text for young readers who are beginning to learn about the Holocaust. It is very informational and easy to understand. I like the timeline in the back of the book along with real pictures of Nicholas Winton, the man who saved all the children. This is a great resource for children and even adults!
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