Posted by: Kathy Temean | November 7, 2019

Book Giveaway: CRUSHING THE RED FLOWERS by Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

Jennifer Voigt Kaplan has a new book, titled CRUSHING THE RED FLOWERS. Jennifer has agreed to send her book to 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 the basket for you. 

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

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 and extra ticket. Thanks! 


Germany in 1938 comes alive and will be unforgettable to young readers in this powerful debut novel, Crushing the Red Flowers.”―James Patterson

What if the person you are supposed to hate is the one person who can save you?

Crushing the Red Flowersis the story of how two ordinary boys cope under the extraordinary circumstances of Kristallnacht. Emil Rosen and Friedrich Weber couldn’t have less in common, but in the summer of 1938, they must both deal with the changes steamrolling through Hanover, Germany. Friedrich struggles with a cruel new Jungvolk Hitler Youth leader and n uncle in jail, while Emil does his best to avoid the blistering anti-Semitic fog that’s seeped into every cranny of his life and is threatening his family. As the rules of yesterday no longer make sense, both boys find comfort at a private spot along the Leine River. Friedrich seeks order and logic and Emil can’t keep from getting into mishaps, so when they meet at the river by chance, things don’t go well.  Then in the late hours of November 9th, their world explodes and unravels. Nightmares leak onto the streets and the two boys are forced to push past the person they thought they were because neither is certain he’ll survive what comes next. Together in a race against time that requires Friedrich to risk his life in order to save Emil and his family.



Crushing the Red Flowers, a story set in 1938 Germany, is fictional, but based on true family experiences. My heritage is half German and half German-Jew. I grew up with a multilayered understanding of the challenges that Jewish and non-Jewish residents of Germany faced during WWII, since the stories I heard about that time from both sides of my family were filled with love and devotion, as well as pain and loss.

After so many years of absorbing this oral tradition, I made the decision to capture meaningful portions through the written word. First, I had to narrow the focus. I wanted to provide middle-grade readers with a solid introduction to the Holocaust, so I chose to confine the novel to 1938. This critical year offered a unique vantage point to examine what came before, during and after, but unfortunately, I’ve sometimes found it overlooked in school curricula. I also made the decision to use two twelve-year-old main characters, a German Jewish boy and a boy in Hitler’s Jungvolk, because I felt it was important for young people to have access to historical fiction with diverse perspectives.

I began plotting in 2010. The only problem was that I didn’t know how to proceed. I had been writing short stories and picture books for enjoyment for a few years, but never a novel. There was plenty of trial and error. I’d sometimes write numerous paragraphs, sleep on it, and then do complete re-writes the next day. And in that way, during the limited amount of time I was able to afford myself to create the book, I taught myself to write. I squeezed in writing workshops, watched YouTube videos on craft, read tons of how-to books, and attended conferences. My reading time doubled as learning time. I twice-read books, first for pleasure and second for study. I deconstructed them, highlighted stunning prose and flagged memorable dialog.

Conducting research for the book also took a good amount of time. To start, I interviewed family members who lived through the period, read everything I could find about Kristallnacht and the Jungvolk/ Hitler Youth, and worked with experts like Myrna Goldenberg, professor emerita of Holocaust history at Montgomery College, and Dr. Patricia Heberer-Rice from the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

But that wasn’t enough. I still had many historical questions. What was the exact weather in Hannover on certain dates? In what month did wild poppies begin to wilt? What foods were difficult to attain in 1938? So I ramped up the research with additional sources. For example, I wanted to mention wallpaper, but couldn’t find much about wall coverings used during that time in my existing sources. So I hopped on the train and spent the day at the New York Public Library Picture Collection. I browsed through image after image until I gained a solid sense of German interiors in the 1930s.

By the end of 2015, the novel was finished. I began submitting to literary agents, then editors, and all the while to writing contests. By the time it was selected by Ig Publishing, a wonderful award-winning independent press, Crushing the Red Flowers had been recognized in six writing contests, including earning a Letter of Merit in the 2012 SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and winning the Middle-Grade Category in the 2016 Publisher’s Weekly BookLife Prize for Fiction.

The book’s journey was lengthy, even by the monstrously slow standards of the publishing industry. But as I look back, I treasure all the varied moments that were necessary to create it — collaborating with my family, teaching myself the craft of novel writing, building relationships with fellow writers, and learning all about the publishing business. In the end, I’m proud that I created a novel that could help children develop their awareness of morality, realize how their decisions can impact others, and identify bullying in our modern day. So, yes, it was a long journey, but also an affecting, vital, wondrous journey that I am honored to have had.


Jennifer Voigt Kaplan is an award-winning author of children’s fiction. Her debut children’s novel, Crushing the Red Flowers, was recognized in six literary contests before its publication, including earning a Letter of Merit for the SCBWI Work-in-Progress Grant and winning the middle-grade category of Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize for Fiction. Jennifer was born in Germany, raised in Philadelphia, and now resides in the New York City area. She holds degrees from the Wharton School of Business in marketing and from the London School of Economics in social psychology.

Outside of writing, Jennifer founded The Public Arts Council, her town’s first organization dedicated to public arts. When she’s not inventing people in her head, she’s painting murals on underpasses, wishing she had more time to watch sci-fi movies, and arguing that there should be no limit on the number of garden gnomes that are considered socially acceptable. She lives with her husband, three children, and a cheeky beta-fish named Bubbles, who thinks it’s hilarious to play dead.

Jennifer, thank you for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. It sounds like a read-worthy book about the beginnings of war and the people caught up in that time. Gook Luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. this sounds powerful and wonderful


  2. Congratulations Jennifer! It’s now at the top of my TBR list. All the best to you!


  3. I’ve read so many MG books of the wwii era and this one sounds like it fills a needed niche. I would LOVE to have a copy. I am tweeting, sharing on FB and reblogging this wonderful post. Congratulations, Jennifer!


  4. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    A new book that is an important addition to the WWII genre.


  5. This book looks like a must read.


  6. I’m always interested in books set in this period. Thanks for the heads up.


  7. This is a subject close to my heart. Would love to win! Many years ago, as am actress, I played a German woman fleeing Kristallnacht with my husband and daughter…..for an episode of “It’s a Miracle”……


  8. Jen!! I’m SO excited for you!! This looks amazing and can’t wait to read it!! I retweeted on Twitter but didn’t look like you have a handle??


    • Thank you so much Rebecca! I’m super excited as well 🙂
      FYI: I do have a twitter account: @JVoigtKaplan.
      Also instagram: @jennifervoigtkaplan


  9. Looks fantastic. I posted on FB, Twitter, and Pinterest. thanks.


  10. This looks like a great story. Definitely going on my “to read” list. Thanks, Kathy and Jennifer!


  11. Congratulations, Jennifer! This sounds like a great read!


  12. Reblogged this on Truth and beauty.


  13. Is it on amazon now? Or?
    Looking forward to reading it
    So important as the survivors of the Holocaust are now in their mid-90s and will Be gone soon. My father ARNO MOTULSKY just died both my parents were in the holocaust. My mother went on the kinder train to England but my father was in a concentration camp and on the boat the St. Louis which was not allowed to enter in to Cuba or the US and was sent back to Europe. My father went on to become a very famous scientist. The New York Times gave him a whole page article 1st obituary and people are still riding is a Bitchuary. I just read the 11th one. He wants said that if it hadn’t been for the holocaust he would’ve probably ended up being a doctor a small town in Germany and instead ended up locally in America and became a world renowned scientist.
    Your friend Jennifer and I are related through marriage. I was married to Robert Walker and she was married to Michael. Our children are cousins. Looking forward to reading your book thank you for writing it, Judy Motulsky Walker


  14. Looks amazing and poignant Jennifer!


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