Kaytek the Wizard

By Janusz Korczak; Avi Katz (Illustrator); Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Translator)
Penlight Publications, Hardcover, 9780983868507, 272pp.

Publication Date: August 2012

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Kaytek, amischievous schoolboy who wants to become a wizard, is surprised to discover that he is able to perform magic spells and change reality. He begins to lead a double life: a powerful wizard in the dress of an ordinary boy. It's all great fun using magic to cause strange incidents in his school and neighborhood, but soon Kaytek's increasing powers cause major chaos around the city of Warsaw. Disillusioned, he leaves the country and wanders the world in search of the meaning of his good intentions, his unique abilities, and their consequences. Revolving around the notion that power is not without responsibility, nor without repercussions, this story speaks to every child's dream of freeing themselves from the endless control of adults, and shaping the world to their own designs.

About the Author
Henryk Goldszmit, known by his pen name as Janusz Korczak, was born July 22, 1878 or 1879 into a Polish-Jewish family. From 1898 - 1905 he studied medicine in Warsaw and began working as a pediatrician in 1905 at the Jewish Bersohns and Baumans Children's Hospital in Warsaw. Korczak also had a private practice where he received and treated poor patients free of charge. In 1912 he founded Dom Sierot - an orphanage for Jewish children - where he introduced an innovative childrearing philosophy based on recognizing the child as a human being of value and deserving respect. A children's assembly, a court of peers and a school newspaper also functioned within the orphanage. When the Second World War erupted in 1939, Warsaw found itself under German occupation. In the fall of 1940, the orphanage - as a Jewish institution - was relocated to the Ghetto, while Korczak himself was arrested briefly for refusing the armband bearing the Star of David Jews were ordered to wear. Janusz Korczak's literary career developed alongside his pursuits in social activism and teaching. The pen name Janusz Korczak was taken from a novel by J.I. Kraszewski, a 19th-century Polish writer. Korczak's entire body of literary works is devoted to children. His most well-known stories are: Krol Macius Pierwszy (King Matthew the First), Krol Macius na wyspie bezludnej (King Matthew on a Deserted Island), Bankructwo malego Dzeka (The Bankruptcy of Little Jack) and Kajtus Czarodziej (Kaytek the Wizard). The only exception was his final work - Pamietnik z getta (Diary from the Ghetto) - in which he not only recounted the history of the orphanage and the Warsaw Ghetto, but also reflected on his life, including his childhood and youth. In 1942 the liquidation of the Ghetto began. Korczak repeatedly refused to save himself, rejecting offers of help from friends who wanted to smuggle him out of the Ghetto and hide him. On the day of deportation, the morning of August 5, 1942 during the so-called major campaign (the main phase of extermination carried out against the inhabitants of the Ghetto), he refused to abandon the children and the employees of the orphanage. All were killed in the Treblinka death camp.Avi Katz is the illustrator of numerous children's books published in the United States and the Middle East, including the award-winning King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, Princess Alopecia and My Travels with Alex. His work appears regularly in the Jerusalem Report. Katz's art is exhibited in Europe, Israel and the United States. He lives in Israel.ntonia Lloyd-Jones is a full-time translator of Polish literature. Her published translations include fiction by several of Poland's leading contemporary novelists, including The Last Supper by Pawel Huelle, for which she won the Found in Translation Award 2008. Her most recent translations include The Night Wanderers by Wojciech Jagielski (Seven Stories, February 2012), reportage about the child victims of the Lord's Resistance Army and the events in Uganda which led to its emergence. She won the Found in Translation Award in 2012 for Saturn.
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