Reviews for One Thousand Tracings : Healing the Wounds of World War II


Booklist Reviews 2007 May #2
Judge bases this quiet, moving story of kindness and healing on her own family's history. After World War II, her grandparents organized a relief effort from their Midwest farm and sent care packages to more than 3,000 desperate people in Europe. In each spread, a young girl describes how she helps Mama with the packages. The stirring art in Judge's first picture book includes not only beautiful, full-page watercolor paintings of a family making a difference but also dramatic collages of black-and-white photos, newspaper cuttings, letters that Judge found in her grandparents' attic, and the foot tracings sent by Europeans desperate for shoes. There is no talk of the enemy. Judge focuses on the dramatic, realistic details of those in need ("We have only one pair of boots and must take turns") and the strength of those who fought "a battle to keep families alive" after the military battles were over.

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Kirkus Reviews 2007 June #2
In the aftermath of World War II, a kind American family sends relief packages to struggling European survivors. In 1946, a six-year-old girl living on a Midwest farm is relieved that her father has returned from the war. When her mother receives a letter from friends in Germany saying they are starving, she sends them a box of wool socks, sweaters, a coat and canned foods. The thank-you letter includes a list of ten families who need shoes and includes tracings of their feet. As fast as the girl and her mother collect used shoes, match them with the tracings and mail them to Europe, more names and tracings arrive. When the girl receives a letter from a little girl in Germany whose father is missing, the two correspond, hoping the German father will return. Based on a true story of the author's grandmother and mother, this touching bit of history humanizes war and demonstrates the difference a few people can make. Nostalgic watercolor illustrations are perfectly paired with collages of letters, photos and tracings the author's grandmother received from the many families she and her friends helped to survive. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 June #2

A mother and daughter's homegrown relief effort, which spanned a year and a half and aided numerous German families after World War II, is the subject of Judge's debut picture book. Judge's lyrical prose tells the true and poignant story of her grandmother and mother's endeavor to find shoes, clothing and foodstuffs for hundreds of Germans devastated by the war. When Judge's grandmother receives a letter from German friends describing their poverty, she sends them a Christmas package and promptly receives back additional requests for help. These appeals for assistance often include tracings of feet (sometimes cut from German newspapers) so that shoes might be found to match. "The men fought their battles during the war./ Now Mama and I fought our own battle./ A battle to keep families alive." The young daughter's narration offers a child's perspective on the tragedies and hope of the era, making the story especially accessible to young audiences. Softly rendered watercolor bleeds portray the quiet emotions of mother and daughter, often in close-ups, as they match donated shoes to the tracings or call upon neighbors to help. Photographs of some of the actual tracings and of several families who were helped are included in endpaper collages. The book is a powerful testament to one family's ability to affect the lives of hundreds. A concluding author's note describes the lasting friendships this goodwill effort fostered. Ages 5-9. (July)

[Page 59]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 July

Gr 2-5-- After she discovered a box containing hundreds of tracings of feet in her grandparents' attic, Judge wrote this story of their generosity following World War II in the voice of her mother, a child at the time. When the Hamerstroms received a letter from their German friend, Dr. Kramer, informing them of his family's dire need in the war's aftermath, they mailed food and clothing. His thank-you note contained the plea: "Please send no more to me. Help others." Kramer provided names along with so many foot tracings for shoes that the Hamerstroms began a letter campaign asking other American families for help. They knitted, collected clothing and shoes, and mailed an ever greater number of packages. The exchange resulted in a friendship between the narrator and a young German girl, Eliza. The gift of a rag doll for Eliza was repaid with a painting of a swallow. Each page of text describes activities between 1946 and 1948, and several are punctuated with quotes from actual letters. The soft-edged paintings are colorful and fluid and create a strong sense of time and place. Collages of letters, foot tracings, and original photographs heighten awareness of the suffering brought upon thousands in war-torn Europe. Judge's endnote describes her attic discovery. This unique and important book illustrates how reaching out to others, even those once considered the "enemy," can help to heal the wounds of war.--Marianne Saccardi, formerly at Norwalk Community College, CT

[Page 92]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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