Posted by: Kathy Temean | July 18, 2019

Book Giveaway: THE BRAVE CYCLIST: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero

Author/illustrator Amalia Hoffman has written a new picture book titled, THE BRAVE CYCLIST: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero, illustrated by Chiara Fedele is hitting bookstores on August 1st. Today would be a great day to celebrate this gorgeous book and the life of Gino Barteali, since July 18th actually is the day Gino Bartali was born in 1914.

Amalia has agreed to share a book with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Amalia!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Once a skinny and weak child, Gino Bartali rose to become a Tour de France champion and one of cycling’s greatest stars. But all that seemed unimportant when his country came under the grip of a brutal dictator and entered World War II on the side of Nazi Germany. Bartali might have appeared a mere bystander to the harassment and hatred directed toward Italy’s Jewish people, but secretly he accepted a role in a dangerous plan to help them. Putting his own life at risk, Bartali used his speed and endurance on a bike to deliver documents Jewish people needed to escape harm. His inspiring story reveals how one person could make a difference against violence and prejudice during the time of the Holocaust.


Kirkus Review May, 2019

An extraordinary athlete was also an extraordinary hero. Gino Bartali grew up in Florence, Italy, loving everything about riding bicycles. After years of studying them and years of endurance training, he won the 1938 Tour de France. His triumph was muted by the outbreak of World War II, during which Mussolini followed Hitler in the establishment of anti-Jewish laws. In the middle years of the conflict, Bartali was enlisted by a cardinal of the Italian church to help Jews by becoming a document courier. His skill as a cyclist and his fame helped him elude capture until 1944. When the war ended, he kept his clandestine efforts private and went on to win another Tour de France in 1948. The author’s afterword explains why his work was unknown. Yad Vashem, the Israeli Holocaust museum, honored him as a Righteous Among the Nations in 2013. Bartali’s is a life well worth knowing and well worthy of esteem. Fedele’s illustrations in mostly dark hues will appeal to sports fans with their action-oriented scenes. Young readers of World War II stories will gain an understanding from the somber wartime pages. What makes one person step into danger to help others? A question worthy of discussion, with this title as an admirable springboard. (photograph, select bibliography, source notes)

School Library Journal Review July, 2019

Gr 3-6–Gino Bartali transformed from skinny kid to beloved national hero when he worked hard to become the best cyclist in Italy. On his 17th birthday, Bartali began to enter cycling races. By 21, his relentless dedication and determination opened up new opportunities. Using his fame as a Tour de France winner to his advantage, he delivered documents that helped Jewish people escape the Nazi regime. Cardinal Elia Dalla Costa, the archbishop of the church in Florence, recruited Bartali to assist in this lifesaving mission. Although aiding Jewish people was a crime punishable by imprisonment or death, Bartali believed that this form of political resistance was more than worth the risk. Hoffman’s clear writing and Fedele’s lush illustrations make the heavy subject matter of the Holocaust comprehensible to younger readers. The story of how an ordinary boy became an extraordinary athlete is enough to pull in those reluctant to read about the Holocaust. The book shows that anyone can use their unique skills to be a hero. The up-to-date bibliography lists a variety of sources including books, documentaries, and news articles. VERDICT Hoffman offers an accessible biography about a little-known athlete and Holocaust hero; a much-needed addition to historical collections.

–Parnell Memorial Library, Montevallo, AL


Each time I go to Israel, I visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem where I spiritually connect with my parent’s families who perished during the holocaust.

During one of my visits, I walked through the promenade of the Righteous Among the Nations, which honors those non-Jewish individuals who saved Jews during the holocaust. I noticed that a new name was added—Gino Bartali.

At that time I didn’t know anything about him except that he was Italian. So began my journey which led me to writing The Brave Cyclist: The True Story of a Holocaust Hero. I have always been intrigued by people of tremendous courage and proved that one individual can indeed save the world.

I googled Gino Bartali’s name and was amazed by what I have found. The more I read, the more I was intrigued. Gino Bartali grew up poor and sick, but with determination, persistence and courage he became a famous bicycle champion and won the Tour-de-France twice!

But what really inspired me to write his story was not his amazing life as a champion but what he did during the years when Mussolini collaborated with Hitler, declaring Anti- Jewish agenda in Italy.

During this dark time, Gino used his bike and cycling career not to win races but to smuggle forged identification cards and deliver them to Italian Jews he never even met so that they could escape.

I ordered every book I could find and started reading about bicycles, racing competitions, World War II in Italy and Gino Bartali. A documentary film, My Italian Secret (Jacoby Oren, PBS Distribution, 2015) inspired me to research further. I went on to reading numerous articles. Alas, many were in Italian but I found other articles in Israeli papers and publications and, luckily, I am fluent in Hebrew.

I think I fell in love with this person- I just had to write his story.

Since the book touches on difficult subjects such as, the holocaust, Mussolini’s anti Jewish laws and dictatorship, I had to figure out how to tell the story in a simple way that would be easy to understand for ages 8-12. I also had to learn a lot about the Tour de France. Another challenge was how to keep the manuscript at a reasonable word count.

I wrote draft after draft and, finally, I started submitting the story to publishers.

I encountered a herd of rejections and eventually gave up hope. Then, One day in 2018 I got an email from Capstone Publishing asking if the manuscript that I sent them over a year ago is still available. Of course, I immediately clicked YES!

The editor wrote back that the acquisition committee would review it further. I tried not to get excited because I’ve been around the block a couple of times & I know how things go sometimes…

But miracles do happen, even in the heat of summer and on August 2018, I signed up the contract.

When the editor emailed that the publication date was slotted for 2019, I couldn’t believe that the book will actually be published in a year. But it did happen! Capstone assigned the project to a wonderful Italian illustrator, Chiara Fedele (Very appropriate because the story takes place in Italy.) Chiara did a fantastic job and got it done in 3 months. I revised the manuscript with two amazing editors who opted for a 40 page book so as to allow for a longer text and plenty of illustrations.

And now – The Brave Cyclist will launch on August 1st and is already available on Amazon.

My greatest satisfaction is in knowing that young readers would be inspired by Gino Bartali’s heroic acts.

In Judaism, one of the most enlightening concept is that of Tikun Olam, which in Hebrew, literally means—to fix the world.

We have the right and the ability to make the world a better place.

The Brave Cyclist is a testament to the fact that one individual can make a difference and fight against discrimination, prejudice, antisemitism and racism.

Gino Bartali once said:

“If you’re good at a sport, they attach medals to your shirts and then they shine in some museum.

That which is earned by doing good deeds is attached to your soul and shines elsewhere.”

How true!


Amalia Hoffman is an author, illustrator and storyteller. She performs her stories dressed up in costumes, accompanied with puppets. She is a member of SCBWI and Children’s Books Illustrator Guild and was voted as finalist in SCBWI storytelling competition. Plus, Amalia is a teaching artist affiliated with ArtsWestchester.

Her board book, Dreidel Day was published by Lerners Publishing Group/ Kar Ben Publishing in 2018. It was selected as PJ Library book and received the PJ Library Author Incentive Award. She also wrote and illustrated The Klezmer Bunch and Purim Goodies. (Gefen Publishing House) Both books were chosen as notable stories for children by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Klezmer Bunch was selected by the Tony Award winning choreographer/producer, Elizabeth Swados for inclusion in her play, Jewish Books Cooking.

Amalia’s article, Queen Esther and Me, was published in the March 2016 issue of Highlights Magazine for Children. She received the SCBWI portfolio award in the category of Fantasy in 2005. Her art was voted best at the illustration display in the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference in 2014 and she received 2nd place at the 2016 conference. Her new board book, All Colors is coming up on September 28, 2019. You can visit Amalia’s website at

Amalia, thank you for sharing this book and its’ journey with all of us. It really is a beautiful book with gorgeous illustrations. It is nice to see how successful 2019 has been for you. Congratulations!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Sounds wonderful. I so love holocaust stories like this. Thanks for sharing!


  2. Wow! Sound fantastic! I can’t wait to read this story and see how bicycling and the Holocaust fit together in this man’s life. Congratulations!


  3. Fascinating story! I’m so glad you created a PB out of it.


  4. This would be great for my students! I also retweeted. Thank you!


  5. Just reblogged this on eQuips. Fascinating story.


  6. As a Tour de France “nut,” I cannot wait to read The Brave Cyclist. Congratulations, Amalia, on getting this inspiring story out into the world!


  7. I am so moved by this story. Congratulations to Amalia Hoffman for writing it.


  8. I love this. What a beautiful story of courage. I’m looking forward to getting this for my cyclist son-in-law to share with my grandchildren.


  9. I am so glad you’ve written this book, Amalia. It feels very timely and necessary. I’m looking forward to reading it and sharing it.


  10. True survivor stories are always needed and this one sounds wonderful. I tweeted, and shared on FB.Tomorrow I will reblog as well.


  11. I saved this on 2 Pinterest boards and shared to Twitter and FB. looks great.


  12. Thanks for a glimpse into what looks like an inspiring book about an amazing hero. Will put it on my TBR list, and give it a tweet.


  13. I love how so many little known unsung heroes are being published in children’s books lately! Brava Amalia and Chiara for honoring yet another! And cheers to you too, Kathy, for always spreading the word.


  14. Thanks for the introduction to the inspirational life of Gino Bartali. I’d love to have a copy of this great looking book.
    I tweeted a link to this post:, and pinned an image with a link on Pinterest:
    Thanks again for the chance to win. Have a great day!


  15. This book looks fantastic! I can’t wait to read it.


  16. Looks like a fascinating story. Can’t wait to read it! I’ll be posting this on twitter, too.


  17. This book sounds so wonderful – and important. I’ll repost on Twitter and I do receive your blog every day. Thanks!


  18. Sounds wonderful! I teach part time, and often Holocaust education is part of what I do. I can’t wait to share this with my students.


  19. Thank you so much for sharing this story! I was lucky to see an f & g of this book and I knew right away that it will be one I will share with my students year after year. It is a must-own for my classroom library. Thank you for the opportunity to win. I also retweeted the giveaway so that others can learn more about this important book!


  20. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    Just had to share this wonderful book by Amalia Hoffman.


  21. This looks wonderful! Congratulations, Amelia!


  22. What a beautiful story. I can’t wait to read it!


  23. Congratulations. Posted on FB, too.


  24. I’d love to read this, and I think the illustrations are stunning!


  25. so so incredibly gorgeous! I can’t wait to see this book!


  26. Such an amazing story! Cant wait to read it!


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