One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II

by Lita Judge

The terrible postwar shortages in Europe after World War II led many people in the... read more

The terrible postwar shortages in Europe after World War II led many people in the United States to send care packages of food and clothing overseas. One such effort to provide relief was spearheaded by noted ornithologists (and longtime Wisconsin residents) Frances and Frederick Hamerstrom. It was a letter from friends of the Hamerstroms in Germany that alerted them to the difficult circumstances of people in that country and across Europe. This lovely, compelling volume details an extraordinary outpouring of support from the perspective of the Hamerstroms’ young daughter, who describes her parents’ work to assist an ever-expanding number of families. Letters from Europe arrived and out would fall the tracings, or outlines, of feet. People needed shoes to get through winter, or to get to work each day. The Hamerstroms spread the word among their colleagues and donations—of shoes, of clothes, of food—poured into their home. Author/illustrator Lita Judge is the Hamerstroms’ granddaughter. Her spare, restrained narrative beautifully captures the voice of a young child (her mother) who doesn’t fully comprehend the reasons behind the need, but who does understand, with the help of her mother, the need for caring and compassion. Judge’s stunning illustrations incorporate letters, photographs, and the actual tracings sent to her grandparents, all of which she found in her grandmother’s attic. An author’s note provides more information on the Hamerstroms’ efforts, and on the Kramer family, their German friends whose letter inspired their efforts. (Ages 6–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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