“Both author and illustrator do an excellent job of bringing both the horror and humanity of this story to a level younger children can understand, and there is much of both: Nazis pounding on doors; Carl giving Anett his most prized possession, a heart shaped stone, a last gift from his father. An unusual and strong addition to Holocaust literature.”   

–Booklist Starred Review

“This slim volume is highly recommended for its fine read, for its introduction to sound historical fiction and for its gentle look at a difficult past that cannot be ignored.”

–Jewish Book World Starred Review

“The setting is a Danish fishing village, but one of the book’s charms is how little context you need to understand it ... it feels appropriate for reading to very young children as an introduction to the subject of the Holocaust.”

–The New York Times

“Based on real events that unfolded in the Danish fishing town of Gilleleje, it’s a story that feels urgent and refreshingly unsentimental. Elvgren (Josias, Hold the Book) never stops her reportorial storytelling for a speech about why these brave people are defying the Nazis–Anett just knows she has to act.”

–Publisher’s Weekly

“The direct simplicity of the story’s telling serves well as an introduction for younger children to the Holocaust ... This uncomplicated narrative of Danish resistance will facilitate teaching a discussion of a difficult yet necessary subject.”

–Kirkus Reviews

“Elvgren’s focused, unsentimentalized narrative is an ideal selection for introducing younger children to the many who stood up to do what was right during the Nazi regime ... This is a notable early introduction to the Danish resistance that deserves wide readership.”

–Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books


Prairie Pasque Nominee 2016-2017 – South Dakota Library Association

Living the Dream Book Award 2016 – Manhattan Country School

Panda Book Award Shortlist 2015-2016 (Middle Readers)International Schools of China

The Andersen Prize 2015 (6/9 Category) – Italy

Jane Addams Honor Book 2015 (Younger Reader Category)

ALA Children’s Notable Book List 2015  (Middle Readers)

Sydney Taylor Honor Book 2015 (Older Readers)

Best Bets for the Classroom 2015 – Virginia State Reading Association

Kiss the Book Top 50 Books for Secondary 2015 – Utah School Librarians Conference

Elephant’s Trunk Award 2015 – Early Learning Center of Bangkok, Thailand

Missouri State Teachers Association Book List 2015

A Mighty Girl Pick of the Day – January 8, 2015 and August 7, 2015

National Jewish Book Award Finalist 2015 (Illustrated Children’s Book)

Mighty Girl Books for Young Readers List 2014

Booklist Top 10 Religion and Spirituality Books for Youth 2014

It is 1943 in Nazi-occupied Denmark. Anett and her parents are hiding a Jewish woman and her son, Carl, in their cellar until a fishing boat can take them across the sound to neutral Sweden. The soldiers patrolling their street are growing suspicious, so Carl and his mama must make their way to the harbor despite a cloudy sky with no moon to guide them. Worried about their safety, Anett devises a clever and unusual plan for their safe passage to the harbor. Based on a true story.

February 2014,  Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 7 and up.

ISBN: 1467711950



“Elvgren’s delightful story about a boy’s discovery of the power of literacy is matched by Tadgell’s beautiful sun-washed watercolor illustrations.”

–Language Arts

“Elvgren has crafted a matter-of-fact snapshot of rural Haitian life.”

–School Library Journal

“U.S. readers will get insight into a different culture, where poverty holds people back and schooling is a privilege–one that can make all the difference. Another interesting aspect of the story is that a child is helping lead his parents into modernity.”


“Elvgren effectively portrays the dilemma faced by a majority of small agrarian families in an impoverished and predominantly illiterate rural society. Soft watercolors in muted shades of blues and greens offer the simple beauty of the countryside. …Despite the difficulties, Elvgren presents a positive look at a struggling part of the world.”

–Kirkus Reviews

“[The Text] … is written in a flowing, gentle, almost poetic manner. This is a terrific book to use as a springboard for reading motivation as well as for Social Studies. The author’s note at the end explains the economic and social structure of rural Haitian society.”

–Library Media Connection


Américas Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature – Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs, Presented at the Library of Congress

Growing Good Kids–Excellence in Children’s Literature Book Award – National Junior Master Gardener Program and American Horticultural Society

Best Children’s Books of the Year – Bank Street College of Education

Top Five Books on Child Schooling and Work – Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Excellent Choices for Trade Books for Grades K-9 – Eastern Washington University

A Capital Read – Seattle Librarians For Seattle’s One Book Program

Kansas Reading Circle Catalogue – Kansas National Education Association

South Carolina Reads List – South Carolina Department of Education

Read Aloud Nebraska List – Nebraska State Reading Association

Multicultural Children’s Book Festival – The Kennedy Center

SCHOOL VISITSschool_visits_2.html

Every morning Josias is hard at work in the family's garden under the hot Haitian sun. And every morning he sees his friend Chrislove walk to school. When will you join us to hold the book? asks Chrislove. But Josias has a garden to tend and no time to learn to read and write, especially now that the garden is failing. Josias can't figure out why the beans aren't growing. Without beans, there may not be enough food for his family. He tries giving the beans more water. He tries working more fertilizer into the soil. Still, the garden shows no sign of life. One morning, when Chrislove asks again when his friend plans to come to school, Josias wonders if a book might hold the solution to his problem.

January 2011, Boyds Mills Press. Ages 7 and up. ISBN: 978-1590788561