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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Chance

Chance

Escape from the Holocaust: Memories of a Refugee Childhood

Uri Shulevitz

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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“Harrowing, engaging and utterly honest.” —Elizabeth Wein, The New York Times Book Review
“A captivating chronicle of eight turbulent years.” —The Wall Street Journal

From a beloved voice in children’s literature comes this landmark memoir of hope amid harrowing times and an engaging and unusual Holocaust story.


With backlist sales of over 2.3 million copies, Uri Shulevitz, one of FSG BYR’s most acclaimed picture-book creators, details the eight-year odyssey of how he and his Jewish family escaped the terrors of the Nazis by fleeing Warsaw for the Soviet Union in Chance.

It was during those years, with threats at every turn, that the young Uri experienced his awakening as an artist, an experience that played a key role during this difficult time. By turns dreamlike and nightmarish, this heavily illustrated account of determination, courage, family loyalty, and the luck of coincidence is a true publishing event.

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On September 1, 1939, Nazi planes burst into the Warsaw skies, some dropping incendiary bombs and spreading fires throughout the city, others dropping high-explosive bombs and turning buildings into dust.

Nature responded...

Praise for Chance

“Harrowing, engaging and utterly honest.” —Elizabeth Wein, The New York Times Book Review

“A captivating chronicle of eight turbulent years.” -The Wall Street Journal

“The first-person narrative, which continues through his teen years in Paris, is inviting and filled with absorbing details of everyday life, from playing games to facing bullies and fearsome dogs. The many illustrations—scary, imaginative, and humorous—are a brilliant accompaniment to the text, bringing into sharp focus stark images of civilians caught up in war. Despite the horrors, however, there is a strong sense of intimacy between the author and his readers . . . A memorable journey of survival and artistry.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The spare, keenly observed narrative offers a harrowing look at a Jewish family’s plight during WWII while documenting the birth of an artist with a great capacity for creativity. . .Stark and powerful black-and-white drawings by the author underscore gritty realities: people forced to carry water after Nazi planes bomb Warsaw, tension and fear in a truck bound for Bialystok, confrontations with Soviet officials, and a crowded bed the family inhabits in a settlement work camp. This affecting memoir of Shulevitz’s childhood as a war refugee provides a deeply personal testament to the power of art.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Distinguished Caldecott Medalwinning author-illustrator Shulevitz creates an arresting and affecting memoir o… More…

“Harrowing, engaging and utterly honest.” —Elizabeth Wein, The New York Times Book Review

“A captivating chronicle of eight turbulent years.” -The Wall Street Journal

“The first-person narrative, which continues through his teen years in Paris, is inviting and filled with absorbing details of everyday life, from playing games to facing bullies and fearsome dogs. The many illustrations—scary, imaginative, and humorous—are a brilliant accompaniment to the text, bringing into sharp focus stark images of civilians caught up in war. Despite the horrors, however, there is a strong sense of intimacy between the author and his readers . . . A memorable journey of survival and artistry.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“The spare, keenly observed narrative offers a harrowing look at a Jewish family’s plight during WWII while documenting the birth of an artist with a great capacity for creativity. . .Stark and powerful black-and-white drawings by the author underscore gritty realities: people forced to carry water after Nazi planes bomb Warsaw, tension and fear in a truck bound for Bialystok, confrontations with Soviet officials, and a crowded bed the family inhabits in a settlement work camp. This affecting memoir of Shulevitz’s childhood as a war refugee provides a deeply personal testament to the power of art.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Distinguished Caldecott Medalwinning author-illustrator Shulevitz creates an arresting and affecting memoir of terrible privation. . .The book’s spare, straightforward text is liberally illustrated with Shulevitz’s black-and-white Expressionist-style drawings plus the occasional photograph that has survived the war. Together, the images brilliantly capture the often-somber story of Shulevitz’s early life, which he ultimately survived, as he says, by chance.” —Booklist, starred review

“Though touching on many dark and serious topics, this story is totally focused on the fears, triumphs, and sensibilities of a child. It is truly a portrait of an artist as a young man thrust into a maelstrom of a world gone mad and relying on chance to decide his fate.” —The Horn Book, starred review

“Shulevitz’s artwork provides a wealth of varied visual commentary on autobiographical episodes. . .The author pauses at several points to contemplate events that seem to have made the difference between his family’s survival and the grim fate of other Jews unable to flee Nazi genocide, tacitly encouraging readers to ponder the great mysteries of providence and chance.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

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Reviews from Goodreads

Uri Shulevitz

Uri Shulevitz has won the Caldecott Medal for The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship, written by Arthur Ransome, and three Caldecott Honors for The Treasure, Snow, and How I Learned Geography. His other books include One Monday Morning, Dawn, So Sleepy Story, and the instructional guide Writing with Pictures: How to Write and Illustrate Children’s Books. He lives in New York City.

image of Uri Shulevitzo
Copyright Mel Adelglass

Author Biography at biography.jrank.org

Author Profile at R. Michelson Galleries

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

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