Review of Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust

Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust
by Neal Shusterman; illus. by Andrés Vera Martínez
Middle School, High School    Graphix/Scholastic    256 pp.
10/23    9780545313476    $24.99
Paper ed.  9780545313483    $14.99

In this innovative book, five stories, all in graphic format, address aspects of the Holocaust and incorporate fantasy elements, including some, aptly, from Jewish and Eastern European folklore. A golem resists the guards in Auschwitz. Baba Yaga and the fools of Chelm build a bridge for children hiding from the “nasties.” Generations later, a teen gets a chance to see what the world would have looked like if the Holocaust hadn’t occurred. Informational spreads following most stories provide historical and, when relevant, folkloric context. Amid the brutality depicted, the creatively applied magical elements give power back to characters persecuted by the Holocaust. The muted palette of the panel illustrations changes slightly with each tale, and the varied layouts keep the momentum going. Back matter includes notes from Shusterman (Challenger Deep, rev. 3/15, and many other novels) and Martínez (Little White Duck, rev. 9/12), a bibliography, and spiritual interpretations of the Hebrew letters that open each story.

From the September/October 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.