Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 5, 2023

Book Giveaway: HIDDEN HOPE: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust by Elisa Boxer

Elisa Boxer has written a new book, HIDDEN HOPE: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust, illustrated by Amy June Bates and published by Abrams Books. It hits book shelves on March 14th. Abrams will send a copy to one lucky winner in the US.

All you have to do to get in the running is 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 other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Chana and Susan.

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!


The remarkable true story of how a toy duck smuggled forged identity papers for Jewish refugees during WWII

During World War II, a social worker named Jacqueline bicycled through the streets of Paris, passing Nazi soldiers and carrying a toy duck to share with the children she visited. What the Nazis didn’t know, however, was that Jacqueline wasn’t a social worker at all, but a Jewish member of the French Resistance.

Families across Europe went into hiding as the Nazis rounded up anyone Jewish. The Star of David, a symbol of faith and pride, became a tool of hate when the Nazis forced people to wear the star on their clothing and carry papers identifying them as Jewish, so that it was clear who to arrest. But many brave souls dared to help them.

Jacqueline was one of them. She risked her life in secret workshops, where forgers created false identity papers. But how to get these life-saving papers to families in hiding? The toy duck held the answer.

Written by award-winning journalist Elisa Boxer and movingly illustrated by the acclaimed Amy June Bates, Hidden Hope, a true story, celebrates everyday heroism, resilience, the triumph of the human spirit, and finding hope in unexpected places.


Kathy, I’m delighted to be back on your blog. Thank you so much for having me here!

Hidden Hope’s journey began with this photo:

I first saw it in 2018 on Yad Vashem’s website. Yad Vashem is the World Holocaust Memorial Museum in Israel, and I was doing research for another book about the French Resistance. When I learned that this wooden duck had been used to hide false identity papers from the Nazis during World War Two, and that the girl who smuggled those papers, Judith Geller, was a teenage French Resistance fighter, I knew I wanted to share her story in the form of a picture book.

As a Jewish journalist with family killed in concentration camps, many of my most meaningful stories have centered around the Holocaust — atrocities, perpetrators, survivors, and those who risked their lives to expose the truth and help keep people safe. With this story, however, I ran into a couple of challenges from the get-go: There was barely any information about Judith Geller or the duck online. Also, the few details that were available seemed geared more toward an older audience, as did the story in general.

But over the next few months, I couldn’t stop thinking about Judith Geller and her secret missions.

One of the aspects that most struck me was the fact that so many families had to hide during this time period: Hide themselves physically; hide their religious observances; hide their entire Jewish identity. And here was this wooden toy that was helping to hide secret documents to help those people survive. And after so much hiding and destruction, this duck had made its way into a museum, out in the open, for all to see. That juxtaposition felt so symbolic to me of the strength and resilience of the Jewish people. Out of hiding and darkness and into the light, despite the Nazis’ plan to eliminate us.

I began to think more and more about this concept of hiding as a universal theme, and it helped bring an age-appropriate storyline into focus. For me, this is not just a story about a Holocaust hero, but also about the importance of never having to hide the truth of who you are. It’s such an important theme for children to internalize. And it’s one I wanted to carry through the text. My agent, Steven Chudney, is the child of a Holocaust survivor, and so for both of us, this book has been a deeply personal one. We both cared so much about translating the specific story into something universal and relatable.

The text went through several drafts and revisions over the course of many months, and I ended up moving a lot of the historical details to the back matter, which contains an extensive author’s note. The manuscript was eventually acquired by Howard Reeves at Abrams. I can’t say enough great things about Howard and Sara Sproull, his assistant, who is now an associate editor at Abrams. This book had such a strong team from the beginning, and it was made infinitely stronger when Amy June Bates came on board as illustrator. She is an artist in the truest, most authentic sense, and her art in this book transports you right back to the 1940s. I am in awe of how she managed to convey all of the fear, despair, and desperation of that time, while infusing it with so much hope. SO much hope. Which is, ultimately, one of the biggest takeaways – that hope can be found in the most unexpected people and places.

We recently received a starred review from School Library Journal that says this story “will spur on anyone who doubts just how much difference one young person can truly make.” And that means so much, because it’s perhaps my biggest hope for this and all of my books. It’s easy to feel so powerless so much of the time. But I want every young reader to be inspired to know that they absolutely have the power to harness their courage and create meaningful change in the world, based on what matters deeply to them.


Elisa Boxer is an Emmy and Murrow award winning journalist whose work has been featured in publications including The New York Times and Fast Company. She has reported for newspapers, magazines and TV stations, and has a passion for telling stories about people finding the courage to create change.

She is the author of several nonfiction picture books including The Voice That Won the VoteA Seat at the TableOne Turtle’s Last Straw, SPLASH! (a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection), Covered in Color (called “compelling from cover to cover” in a Kirkus starred review) and Hidden HopeHow a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust. Elisa lives in Maine, and has more children’s books on the way. Visit her at


I’ve been an Illustrator for 20 years. I’ve written a few books and I’ve loved a few books to death. I love painting and drawing, but I am also OBSESSED with carving and printmaking. I lived in Japan for 3 years and I got so fascinated by wood block printing. I somehow never thought I could or should do it. I have these old Taisho era Sharaku prints on my walls that I’ve been staring at for years. Well one day I just knew it was time. So I started “Never You Mind Press”

Amy June Bates is the illustrator of over 50 books. She picked up a pencil when she was three and hasn’t stopped drawing since. She grew up with six younger brother and sisters, none of whom have turned into crows or swans. She has lived in California, Maryland, Michigan, Utah, Pennsylvania, and Japan. She loves to wander. She prefers the mountains.

Some of her books include THE DOG WHO BELONGED TO NO ONE by Amy Hest; BEAR IN THE AIR by Susan Meyers; KETZEL, THE CAT WHO COMPOSED by Lesléa Newman; SWEET DREAMS by Jewel; and HILLARY CLINTON: DREAMS TAKING FLIGHT by Kathleen Krull. In 2018 she published her first author-illustrated book, THE BIG UMBRELLA.

She has a messy husband and three messy kids and they all live together in a messy house with their messy dog. She lives in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a town that is older than your great-granny.

They all like to draw.

To keep up to date with sketches, projects, books and doggy drama you could follow me on Instagram, it’s where I am most up to date. Honestly, I can’t be everywhere at once.

Eliza, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. With a sparse amount of words, you created a beautiful heart wrenching, but heart warming book. Amy’s gorgeous illustrations evoke so much emotion on every page. Together you have brought us a story that will stay with readers young and old. I certainly could feel both of your hearts throughout the book. I’m so happy you visited the the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel and discovered the toy wooden duck teenager Judith Geller used to smuggle fake identity papers to help Jewish children and families make it to safety. It was a dark time in history with Jews being rounded up and hauled to camps, but it created heroes like Judith, who stood up to resist evil — Proving light in the darkness. It is something everyone should remember and never let happen again. Good luck with the book.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. I love this book’s beautiful art and its takeaway. “Hope can be found in the most unexpected people and places.” I’m drawn to the art that carries determination in a shadowy-soft style. I’m looking forward to reading this book by Elisa Boxer and Amy June Bates.


  2. What a beautiful and important story for young readers. I am tweeting and will reblog this post.


  3. What an important story! Bravery during the Holocaust never grows old. Thank you for sharing this story


  4. This book resonates with me deeply. I was in a very difficult place at one point in college. The person who recognized that I was being abused never spoke a word, she merely pulled up the cuff on her blouse, and I saw the number. She gave me courage to get out and stay out. I cannot wait to own this book.


  5. What an important and beautiful book as well as an inspiring tale! Wishing you all the best of success with it! [Newsletter Subscriber]


  6. A fascinating and touching story. Look forward to reading.


  7. This teenager’s story is fascinating and as someone with ties to Germany during WWII, I’m excited to read this and learn more. I’m an email subscriber and shared on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and tumblr.


  8. This looks like an amazing book of courage displayed in a horrific time in history. I would love a copy.

    I shared on Twitter and am a subscriber to your blog.


  9. I have been looking forward to reading this book and sharing it with my readers for a long time. I can’t wait to put a copy of the book in my hands.


  10. Amazing story and illustrations that perfectly suit the tension of the subject. A single youth can make a difference. Terrific takeaway. Congrats to Elisa and Amy!


  11. Another engaging nonfiction account by Elisa with absorbing art! Congratulations!


  12. Fabulous. Can’t wait to tell people about it!!!


  13. This looks amazing. I think it’s important for us to find stories of hope for horrifying history when we can. annettemwhipple at gmail dotcom


  14. Reblogged this on Darlene Beck-Jacobson and commented:
    This sounds like such an exceptional book in the holocaust genre that I had to share it with my readers.


  15. This looks like an amazing story. The artwork is beautiful. Thanks for telling me about it. I subscribe to your blog by email.


  16. This looks incredible, and the story behind it (both the true story and the story of shaping the book) is so compelling.


  17. I’ve heard this story, but reading it in a book will be wonderful! Thank you for doing this Elisa and Amy. I am a subscriber and have shared on Twitter and Facebook.


  18. Wow, this looks great! What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing with us! Congrats, Elisa and Amy June!

    I follow by email and tweeted this post. 🙂


  19. Congrats on your beautiful book, Elisa and Amy!! Judith is such a true hero. I can’t wait to read your book!


  20. In case this giveaway isn’t over, please add my name! Thanks


  21. This book sounds so good. I love that books like this are written for the younger audiences.


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