The Promise

The Promise


By Pnina Bat Zvi & Margie Wolfe, Illustrated by Isabelle Cardinal


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.


About the Illustrator

Isabelle Cardinal has been an illustrator for 17 years. Her style emerged through the years as her own, 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.

About the Authors

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

Margie Wolfe is a publisher of books for adults and children in Toronto. She and her sister Helen are Toby's daughters.

Product Information

  • Release: April 10, 2018
  • $18.95 Paperback
  • 32 Pages
  • Picture Book - Children's Nonfiction
  • 8.5 x 11
  • Ages 7-10 / Grades 3-6
  • ISBN: 9781772600582


  • Reflecting Diversity
    > Cultural & Ethnic Diversity
  • Character Education
    > Prejudice & Tolerance
    > Family & Friendship
  • History & Social Studies
    > WWII & The Holocaust

Praise for The Promise

"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." - Kirkus Reviews *STARRED REVIEW

"With tightly paced scenes and tense dialogue, Zvi and Wolfe create a terrifying sense of immediacy that is extended in the photorealistic digital collages, which focus on faces, from the shouting guards and snarling dogs to the determined sisters. An unusual, powerful look at the horrors of life in the camps and the courage and resilience of those who survived." –Publishers Weekly

"... 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