Peter Sís Book Launch: "Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued

  • 11. 01. 2021
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  • 3 minute read

Three upcoming virtual events hosted by bookstores out of New York City, Houston, TX, and Washington, DC, celebrate the new book by Petr Sís, which is coming out January 26, 2021.

Czech-American artist, MacArthur Fellow, and three-time Caldecott Honoree Peter Sís honors a man who saved hundreds of children from the Nazis—and never told anyone about it. In 1938, twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Winton saved the lives of almost 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. When the war began and no more children could be rescued, he put away his records and told no one. It was only fifty years later that a chance discovery and a famous television appearance brought Winton’s actions to light and reunited him with some of the children he saved. In this distinctive and deeply personal picture book, Peter Sís weaves together Winton’s experiences and the story of one of the children he saved, Vera Gissing, whose family enlisted Nicky’s aid when the Germans occupied their country. As the war passes and Vera grows up, she must find balance in her dual identities—one her birthright, the other her choice. Nicky & Vera is a masterful tribute to a humble man’s courageous efforts to protect Europe’s most vulnerable. A tale of decency, action, and courage, told in luminous, poetic images by an internationally renowned artist, Nicky & Vera is a timely portrayal of the hopes and fears of those forced to leave their homes and create new lives.

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author, and filmmaker. He was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London. Sís’s books, Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, Tibet Through the Red Box, and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain were each named Caldecott Honor Books by the American Library Association, and The Wall also was awarded the Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for young readers. 

In addition, he has had seven books named to The New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year list, was the first children’s book illustrator to win the MacArthur Fellowship, and in 2012 won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for lifelong achievement, the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books. Sís also was chosen to deliver the 2012 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture for the Association for Library Service to Children. He lives in Irvington, New York.

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