Monday, January 30, 2012


I read HIS NAME WAS RAOUL WALLENBERG by Louise Borden last week. What a powerful read!  I have listened to Louise's process with this book over the years. Her commitment to authentic research and telling Raoul's story has been apparent for years. I have read drafts, seen photos and listened to her talk about this project that meant so much to her. So, I was excited to get my copy in the mail when it was released.

First of all, it is a beautiful book. The cover photo of Raoul Wallenberg as a boy is perfect.  The design of the book is gorgeous and the variety of artifacts and photos spread throughout the book makes it an incredible read.

Louise begins the book with one of Raoul Wallenberg's class pictures and these words:

Look closely
at this faded school picture from Sweden.

Find the student whose number is 19
and match 19 to his signature.
Read it aloud. See it echo.

19.  Raoul Wallenberg.

It's a name for the world to remember.

Now you,
and others,
can become the storytellers
of this boy's remarkable life....

And the book remains as powerful on every single page.  Louise takes us through Wallenberg's entire life. She introduces him as a young boy and we come to know Raoul, his family and his friends. Through his story we not only come to understand him but we also begin to understand the world at this time.

Raoul Wallenberg made a huge difference in the lives of so many Hungarian Jews when the Nazis occupied Hungary.  His life mission was to help save as many people as possible and he made a huge difference in the world during this war.

Louise's writing makes this book accessible to middle school students.  It is a book about the Holocaust and she tells it with compassion and honesty.  She tells the story of real people during this time. She includes so many photos and artifacts, and documents that I found myself constantly going back and forth between text and visual to better understand the story.

This book is a must-have for any middle school and high school library and it is a great adult read.  This is an amazing book by an amazing author who has dedicated her career to telling the stories of people who have made a difference in history.

If you don't know THE JOURNEY THAT SAVED CURIOUS GEORGE by Louise, you can learn more about it here.  Her commitment to telling the story of people whose stories need to be told is amazing.

The Journey That Saved Curious George from WGBY on Vimeo.


  1. Just ordered both books.....I love reading your blog and just shared it with some friends. Thank you. I am an educator, a Doctoral student in education, and a passionate reader.

  2. It sounds just as you said it, a powerful book to read & admire the acts of courage from that time period. What a gift authors give to us in education by writing books that give children great stories! Thanks for sharing about both books!

  3. Louise Borden's book sounds especially good for my sixth graders - we need books like this about remarkable people like this to remind ourselves of the good we are capable of. Thanks for sharing this!

  4. I'm busy working on a workshop that will showcase biography books that can be read to children from K through the twelfth grade. There are so many of these amazing picture book biographies available for us to share in our classrooms and with our own children. I will immediately add both of Louise's books to that list. Thank you so much for sharing...I love reading your posts.

  5. What a heartfelt and beautiful review. Thanks! And thanks as well for being part of the 2012 Comment Challenge!
    Keep on commenting,


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