The Magician of Auschwitz

The Magician of Auschwitz


Written by Kathy Kacer and Illustrated by Gillian Newland


Magic can be found in the darkest of places...

It is the time of the Second World War, and Werner is a boy alone in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Separated from his family, he doesn’t have a friend in the world. He shares his bunk with a quiet man named Herr Levin, who seems too gentle for this terrible place.

One night Werner is woken by the sound of prison guards yelling. But it’s not Werner they want, it’s Herr Levin. “Do your magic!” they order him. 

Magic? In Auschwitz?

Werner never expected to meet a magician in such a sad and frightening place. Nor did he expect that his life could be changed, not just by Herr Levin’s gift of magic, but by his gifts of hope and friendship.

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About the Author

Kathy Kacers books have won a number of awards, including the Silver Birch, the Red Maple, the Hackmatack, and the Jewish Book Award. A former psychologist, Kathy now travels the globe speaking to children and adults about the importance of keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive. Kathy lives in Toronto with her family.

About the Illustrator

Gillian Newland has illustrated a variety of publications ranging from magazine editorial to children’s books. She finds most of her inspiration to draw outside of her studio and can often be found sketching her fellow customers at a cafe or the animals at the zoo. Gillian lives in Toronto.

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Product Information

  • Release: September 5, 2014

  • $18.95 Hardcover with Jacket

  • 32 Pages

  • 8.5 x 11

  • Picture Book - Children's Nonfiction

  • Ages 7+ / Grades 3+

  • ISBN: 9781927583463


  • Holocaust Studies

  • Character Education
    > Prejudice and Tolerance

  • History / Social Studies
    > War and Conflict


Awards for The Magician of Auschwitz

  • 2015 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award - Picture Book category (Ontario Arts Foundation) - Winner

  • 2016 Rocky Mountain Book Award Nominee

  • 2016 OLA Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award Nominee

  • Bank Street College Children's Book Committee's "Best Children's Books of the Year, 2015" for ages 9-12

  • Canadian Children's Book Centre's "Best Books for Kids and Teens" - Spring 2015

Praise for The Magician of Auschwitz

"A moving Holocaust story for younger readers about a young boy sent to Auschwitz and befriended by a magician… a poignant, inspiring story of friendship, hope and survival." - Kirkus Reviews

"Kacer (the Holocaust Remembrance series) presents a true tale about children and the Holocaust... Like Kacer’s previous books, this story is infused with hope and a message about human capacity for good in the face of evil." - Publishers Weekly

"The Magician of Auschwitz tells of friendship in the face of terrible conditions. It is a wonderful springboard for discussion about the Second World War and the atrocities committed during the Holocaust, and should be considered an essential purchase for every public and school library." - Quill & Quire

"Author of over a dozen books chronicling a variety of Holocaust stories, Kacer delivers this piece of history in picture book format. The result is simple, beautifully moving and gently informative... Gillian Newland evocatively illustrates the book in charcoal and sepia tones." - The National Reading Campaign

"There is a need to continue to shine a spotlight on the past. The challenge for any writer telling children about this horrific time is balance... truth without all the terrifying details. Kathy Kacer rises to this challenge and knows how important it is that children learn about this tragic time in history. She manages the daunting task to not glorify, sensationalize or sugarcoat all the facts." - CM: Canadian Review of Materials

"The Magician of Auschwitz is an important book of accepting hope wherever possible in the most hopeless of situations and from the most surprising of sources." - CanLit for Little Canadians

"In her first picture book, Kathy Kacer has written a gripping account of survival and hope during one of the darkest times in history. One cannot help but be moved by Levin's gift of magic and friendship that transforms the days of a lonely boy who, in turn, retains a lifelong love of magic." - Canadian Children's Book News

"The dark brooding illustrations aptly evoke the darkness and inhumanity of the setting.... This is an excellent tale to teach children about the horrors of the Holocaust." - Resource Links

"It’s hard to know how and when to introduce the story of the Holocaust to young children… [The Magician of Auschwitz] is a good introductory piece with a compelling true story. This is a fine book, well designed and written for such a young age group." - San Francisco Book Review

"...wonderfully expressive." - Jewish Book World

"...a needed addition to anyone's library and anyone, no matter how old or how young, can take something to heart from this wonderful book." - Kutztown University Book Review