Written by: Amalia Hoffman
Illustrated by: Chiara Fedele
For ages: 8-12 years old
Language: English and some Italian
Topics Covered: Judaism, WWII, Holocaust, Activism, Global Community, Historical Events, Historic Figure, Sports, Cycling.
Summary: Gino Bartali was a small and sickly child, but he loved riding a bicycle more than anything else. He got a part-time job at a bike shop to learn more, competed in his first race at the age of 12, but didn’t get his parents’ proper blessing to be a full-time professional cyclist until age 17. Gino worked incredibly hard and in 1938 got a spot to compete in the Tour de France. Even though he crashed his bicycle trying not to hit some spectators that decided to cross the road, Gino won! In his speech, he didn’t mention Mussolini who had taken control of Italy, and this angered the authorities. Mussolini had teamed up with Adolf Hitler, and many years of hardship had begun.
When Gino returned home, he received a call from his good friend who also happened to be a cardinal and the archbishop of a church in Florence. The cardinal had a plan to smuggle false papers into the country to help the Jewish folks assume non-Jewish identities for the duration of the war, keeping them safe from deportation to the concentration camps. Gino doctored his bicycle frame to hide papers and went on long training rides back and forth through the mountains, shuttling papers back and forth to help the cardinal.
This is a fantastic book about a historical figure in multiple arenas! We had never heard of Gino Bartali before reading this book, and are so glad his story was published. After the story is finished there is an Afterword containing a photo of Gino and more detailed information about his life. Overall, this is a fantastic book for elementary school students and we highly recommend it!
This book was sent to us by Capstone for consideration in the Best Books of 2019 List put on by the Read With River book club, but all opinions are our own!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Amalia Hoffman an author/illustrator. Her board book, Dreidel Day is scheduled for publication by Lerners Publishing Group/ Kar Ben Publishing for Fall, 2018.
She also wrote and illustrated The Klezmer Bunch and Purim Goodies. (Gefen Publishing House) Both books were chosen as notable stories for children by the Association of Jewish Libraries. The Klezmer Bunch was selected by the Tony Award winning choreographer/producer, Elizabeth Swados for inclusion in her play, Jewish Books Cooking.
Amalia’s article, Queen Esther and Me, was published in the March 2016 issue of Highlights Magazine for Children.
Amalia designed and illustrated Rose Bud, on oversized book with pop-up elements, created as prop for Israel’s children’s theater, The Train.
Amalia received the SCBWI portfolio award in the category of Fantasy in 2005. Her art was voted best at the illustration display in the 21st Century Children’s Nonfiction Conference in 2014 and she received 2nd place at the 2016 conference.
She actively promotes her books with entertaining presentations and was voted as
finalist in SCBWI storytelling competition.
Amalia is a teaching artist affiliated with ArtsWestchester. She is a member of SCBWI and Children’s Books Illustrator Guild.
From her website:
I am Chiara
I was born in Milan in 1973. I live in a little village 50 km far from Milan where I live with my family and my pets.
I attended Art School in Milan and took a degree in Illustration at La Scuola del Fumetto in Milan. I had also attended several workshops with illustrators such as Gianni DeConno, Arcadio Lobato, Svjetlan Junakovic and a course with the publisher Paolo Canton (Topipittori) called Projecting Books.
I work mainly for children publishers all around the word, storyboarding for advertising and movie. Magazines. I use a combination of mixed traditional media and digital.
My artwork is varied and I feel my style is always evolving.
Freelance illustrator, editorial designer, storyboard artist for advertising and movies.
I work with big and small Publishers in Italy, Greece, USA, UK, France, Germany.
I am currently represented by illustration Agency ASTOUND.US