The Promise-ebook

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Praise & Recognition

"...a sensitive, sophisticated picture book that can be used for older children as well. Pnina Bat Zvi and Margie Wolfe have captured both the sense of terror the children lived with every moment as well as the reservoir of devotion and courage that enabled Toby to stand up to a guard.... The Promise tells a terrible story, but one that ends optimistically. It should be added to classroom collections and school libraries to help children learn about the past so society does prevent the rise of racism, nationalism and fascism as those who experienced the horrors of World War II intended. Highly recommended."

CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"Because Rachel and Toby were real people, young readers can empathize and sympathize, but the story does not try to help them understand the Holocaust: That is beyond human comprehension. Harrowing, moving, and filled with questions that cannot be answered but must be asked. STARRED REVIEW"

Kirkus Reviews

"An unusual, powerful look at the horrors of life in the camps and the courage and resilience of those who survived."

Publishers Weekly

"[B]rings to life the horror that so many truly experienced during WWII. The fear, labor, defiance, and love are illustrated with full-page pictures that blend photos and drawings in grays, browns, and blues to express terror and hope. ... The sisters' use of their only worldly bribe the Nazis into allowing them to reunite with each other when one of them falls ill is a stunning story, and the extensive use of dialogue adds to the impact."


"The Promise is a heart-warming story about the power of love in the most difficult of times...It should be in the collection of every school and public library."

Resource Links

"Based on a true story, The Promise reveals just one significant but uncelebrated act of heroism during a time and place of brutality. It's a story that needs to be recognized and its characters acclaimed for their survival."

CanLit for LittleCanadians

"The authenticity of the story and family pictures taken in better times make it a compelling read. It is not an easy account for children to understand, but it is a profound one that will provoke discussion. It reflects the extremes of evil and sacrifice of which mankind if capable, and reveals a spark of compassion in even the harshest individual."

Canadian Children's Booknews

"The book serves as a thought-provoking addition to others in the genre..."

AJL Reviews

"A compelling story of love, devotion and perseverance in the face of horrific circumstances, this book belongs on the shelves of every school, church and synagogue library."

Canadian Jewish News

Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books of 2018 2018 - Commended

Hackmatack Children’s Choice Book Award 2019-2020 - Short-listed

Two brave sisters whose promise to their parents to “always, stay together” helped them survive Auschwitz.

The night that Rachel and Toby’s parents are taken away by the Nazis, they give their young daughters three gold coins with the instructions to “use these wisely to help save your lives.” They also ask the girls to promise that they will always stay together. This compelling true story follows the sisters as they confront the daily horrors of Auschwitz, protecting one another, sharing memories, fears, and even laughter—always together. But when Rachel becomes ill and is taken away by Nazi guards, likely forever, Toby risks her own life and uses the well-hidden gold coins to rescue her little sister.


Publication Date: April 10, 2018

Reading Age: 9 - 12

Reading Level: Y

Genre: Picture Book, Children's Nonfiction

Product Format: E-book – EPUB

Pages: 32

ISBN: 978-1-77260-308-8

Pnina Bat Zvi

About the Author

Pnina Bat Zvi

Pnina Bat Zvi is a journalist and radio host based in Tel Aviv. She, her brother and sister are Rachel's children.
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Margie Wolfe

About the Author

Margie Wolfe

Working in feminist book publishing for more than thirty years, Margie Wolfe has also written Women Studies guides and has co-edited several book collections including Found Treasures, Still Ain’t Satisfied and No Safe Place:Violence Against Women and Children. She and three other women founded Second Story Feminist Press in 1988.
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About the Illustrator

Isabelle Cardinal

Isabelle Cardinal has been an illustrator for 17 years. Her style emerged through the years as her original way of doing digital collage. Using mostly a collection of Victorian era photos, her own textures, photos, and drawings, her work has a unique and mysterious feel. She lives in Trois-Rivières, Québec.
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