The Champion of Children (Hardcover)

The Story of Janusz Korczak

By Tomek Bogacki, Tomek Bogacki (Illustrator)

Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), 9780374341367, 40pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2009

List Price: 17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

In 1912, a well-known doctor and writer named Janusz Korczak designed an extraordinary orphanage for Jewish children in Warsaw, Poland. Believing that children were capable of governing themselves, he encouraged the orphans to elect a parliament, run a court, and put out their own weekly newspaper. Even when Korczak was forced to move the orphanage into the Warsaw Ghetto after Hitler's rise to power, and couldn't afford to buy food and medicine for his charges, he never lost sight of his ideals. Fully committed to giving his children as much love as possible during a terrifying time, Korczak refused to abandon them.

In his most beautiful and heartfelt book to date, with evocative acrylic illustrations and spare, poignant prose, Tomek Bogacki tells the story of a courageous man who, during one of the grimmest moments in world history, dedicated his life's work— and ultimately his life itself—to children.



About the Author

I was born on April 1, 1950, in the small town of Konin in Poland. Sometimes I feel very young, sometimes somewhat old. I am neither tall nor short. I don't wear suits and ties. I have many pairs of glasses, and I am never sure which pair to wear, so often I don't wear any at all. I like riding a bike, and I like the smell of fresh grass and flowers. I like music, and I like silence where I can hear my thoughts and let my imagination run free. I draw all the time, and have for as long as I can remember. I always have a lot of ideas, but never enough time to work on all of them.

I grew up in my grandparents' big house on the bank of the Warta River in Konin. I liked to ride my bike to the outskirts of the town, to the meadows. I liked playing with other children, but I also liked to be alone in my first attic "studio" to draw, paint, read books, write stories, or just sit quietly with my eyes closed, imagining faraway places and adventures. I carved the wooden toys
I played with. I planted my first flower garden there.

When I was fourteen, I moved to the capital of Poland--Warsaw--where I completed my high-school education and later attended the Academy of Fine Arts. I still loved riding my bike, the smell of fresh grass and flowers, and sitting in silence and letting my imagination run free. I still read books, wrote stories, and drew all the time.

For many years after that, I lived in a house deep in a forest in the Mazury region in Poland. I rode my bike, planted flowers in my garden, and carved wooden sculptures, and toys for my little son to play with. I had plenty of time to do what I loved. Later I traveled widely and lived in many different places--London, Florence, Stockholm, and Amsterdam among them. I stayed in some places for only a few days, and in others for a few years. Then one day I came to New York. It felt like home, so I decided to stay . . .

I started illustrating books for children during my last year in college. Since then I have illustrated more than forty books, some of them my own stories. Children all over the world have enjoyed them, so I continue to work on new ones.

Tomek Bogacki obtained a fine arts degree from the Academy of Art in Warsaw, Poland. While active as a painter, he became involved in a variety of other artistic pursuits. His growing interest in graphic design resulted in numerous posters, book jackets, and record album covers. Through his work with Polish television, Tomek gained recognition for his animated film projects, having produced over fifty. He has also designed stage sets for theater and television in Warsaw and London, participated in developing an educational illustration program for elementary schools in Poland, and had his work shown in a multitude of prestigious illustration exhibitions.

His interest in children's book illustration goes back to 1973, when his first book was commissioned by KAW Publishers in Warsaw. His distinctive style has won him international acclaim, and his books continue to be published throughout Europe and in China and Japan. Tomek now lives in New York City.



I was born on April 1, 1950, in the small town of Konin in Poland. Sometimes I feel very young, sometimes somewhat old. I am neither tall nor short. I don't wear suits and ties. I have many pairs of glasses, and I am never sure which pair to wear, so often I don't wear any at all. I like riding a bike, and I like the smell of fresh grass and flowers. I like music, and I like silence where I can hear my thoughts and let my imagination run free. I draw all the time, and have for as long as I can remember. I always have a lot of ideas, but never enough time to work on all of them.

I grew up in my grandparents' big house on the bank of the Warta River in Konin. I liked to ride my bike to the outskirts of the town, to the meadows. I liked playing with other children, but I also liked to be alone in my first attic "studio" to draw, paint, read books, write stories, or just sit quietly with my eyes closed, imagining faraway places and adventures. I carved the wooden toys
I played with. I planted my first flower garden there.

When I was fourteen, I moved to the capital of Poland--Warsaw--where I completed my high-school education and later attended the Academy of Fine Arts. I still loved riding my bike, the smell of fresh grass and flowers, and sitting in silence and letting my imagination run free. I still read books, wrote stories, and drew all the time.

For many years after that, I lived in a house deep in a forest in the Mazury region in Poland. I rode my bike, planted flowers in my garden, and carved wooden sculptures, and toys for my little son to play with. I had plenty of time to do what I loved. Later I traveled widely and lived in many different places--London, Florence, Stockholm, and Amsterdam among them. I stayed in some places for only a few days, and in others for a few years. Then one day I came to New York. It felt like home, so I decided to stay . . .

I started illustrating books for children during my last year in college. Since then I have illustrated more than forty books, some of them my own stories. Children all over the world have enjoyed them, so I continue to work on new ones.

Tomek Bogacki obtained a fine arts degree from the Academy of Art in Warsaw, Poland. While active as a painter, he became involved in a variety of other artistic pursuits. His growing interest in graphic design resulted in numerous posters, book jackets, and record album covers. Through his work with Polish television, Tomek gained recognition for his animated film projects, having produced over fifty. He has also designed stage sets for theater and television in Warsaw and London, participated in developing an educational illustration program for elementary schools in Poland, and had his work shown in a multitude of prestigious illustration exhibitions.

His interest in children's book illustration goes back to 1973, when his first book was commissioned by KAW Publishers in Warsaw. His distinctive style has won him international acclaim, and his books continue to be published throughout Europe and in China and Japan. Tomek now lives in New York City.



Praise For The Champion of Children: The Story of Janusz Korczak

“The endpapers offer a study in contrast, the first showing Warsaw before the war, full of red rooftops and tall trees, while the closing spread shows Warsaw after the war, awash with shadowy silvers and grays. An author's note describes how Boagacki, himself Polish-born, grew up hearing the stories of Korczak.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“Inspiring is a rare word for a realistic Holocaust title, but it is true of this picture-book biography.” —Booklist

“For anyone teaching about the Holocaust, this moving portrait of humanitarian Janusz Korczak is worth a look.” —Instructor

“...this is a gorgeous, gently-told book that every Jewish kid should eventually read.” —Tablet

“A passionate picture-book biography of the Holocaust-era children's advocate and doctor.” —Kirkus Reviews