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One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II [Hardcover]

Lita Judge


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Book Description

July 1 2007

When author/illustrator Lita Judge found hundreds of tracings of feet in her grandmother’s attic, she was intrigued and moved to share the story behind them.
One Thousand Tracings tells that story. In the aftermath of World War II a family in America established contact with a family in Germany and to help them sent them supplies, including shoes. The German family was extremely grateful and asked if their American friends would help others in Europe. Soon shoe tracings from all over the continent started pouring in to the modest Midwest farm. The network of families helping from the U.S. started to grow so that ultimately hundreds of people on both sides of the Atlantic were touched by this remarkable process.

Illustrated with a combination of paintings and collages of original photographs and foot tracings, this moving story is a granddaughter’s tender tribute to her grandparent’s who organized this relief effort. By sending hope and kindness they began healing the wounds of war. It is powerful reminder of the importance of humanitarianism during wartime.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; 1 edition (July 1 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423100085
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423100089
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 22.1 x 28.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #773,937 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Judge bases this quiet, moving story of kindness and healing on her own family's history. After World War II, her grandparents organized a relief effort from their Midwest farm and sent care packages to more than 3,000 desperate people in Europe. In each spread, a young girl describes how she helps Mama with the packages. The stirring art in Judge's first picture book includes not only beautiful, full-page watercolor paintings of a family making a difference but also dramatic collages of black-and-white photos, newspaper cuttings, letters that Judge found in her grandparents' attic, and the foot tracings sent by Europeans desperate for shoes. There is no talk of the enemy. Judge focuses on the dramatic, realistic details of those in need ("We have only one pair of boots and must take turns") and the strength of those who fought "a battle to keep families alive" after the military battles were over. Rochman, Hazel
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Lita Judge lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire, with her husband and cat. She grew up with grandparents, who were will-known ornithologists and were responsible for starting "the Action," the movement in which many Americans sent food, clothing, and scientific materials to Europeans after World War II.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  22 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Account of Human Compassion April 7 2008
By The Well-Read Child - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Author/illustrator Lita Judge was inspired to write this picture book, her first, when she found a box of full of old letters containing foot tracings. She learned from her mother about the huge relief effort her grandparents, Fran and Frederick Hamerstrom, led to help families in need in post-WWII Europe.

One Thousand Tracings is the story of this effort told from the perspective of young girl (Lita Judge's mother). The story begins in December 1946, "When I was three, Papa left home to join the war. When I was six, the war was over, and Papa came back to me and Mama. I thought everyone we loved was home and safe. But just before Christmas, a letter arrived that changed everything."

That letter was from their friends in Germany who said they were starving and had no shoes. They put together a care package for the family, and weeks later received a thank you letter from the family along with a list of ten families who needed help. There were foot tracings for each family member in the letter. Over the next two years, the Hamerstrom's received over a thousand foot tracings, and enlisting the help of friends and neighbors, over 3,000 care packages including shoes matching the foot tracings and other supplies were sent to families all over Europe.

In addition to telling us the story of the relief effort, Lita Judge draws us in by telling, through letters sent to the Hamerstrom's, the story of one family with a little girl named Eliza who is the same age as the narrator. Her father is still missing, and she, her mother, and brother are in need. The reader is filled with anticipation to find out what happens to this family and the father.

The most poignant part of the story is the fact that Americans put their differences with Germany aside and helped PEOPLE. They were no longer fighting the enemy, but helping mothers, fathers, children who didn't even have shoes to keep their feet warm in the bitter cold. But perhaps the most engaging part of the book are pictures of the actual foot-tracings, yellowed letters, and photos sent with the letters scattered throughout the pages of the book and on the end papers. Mixed in with Judge's soft watercolor illustrations, we can SEE what Lita Judge found in the attic. We see a picture of the real Eliza, a pair of warn boots that would be a godsend to a poverty-stricken family, a doll like the one Judge's mother made for Eliza, and more.

One Thousand Tracings is beautifully written and tells the heartwarming story of human compassion. Sure to spark a lot of conversation, no child's library should be without it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A True Story Beautifully Told June 14 2007
By Oregon Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This true story is a touching account of how a little girl and her mother found a way to respond to the great need of families in war torn Europe. A letter from Germany triggered a relief effort that resulted in many families in this country sending packages to families in Germany and other European countries. Shoes were in especially short supply. The book's antique charm is a combination of actual letters, photos, and foot tracings combined with Lita Judge's sensitive watercolor paintings. This charming picture book will warm your heart and remind you of the goodness of human beings.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Thousand Tracings July 27 2007
By Kirsten G. Cutler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Judge, Lita, One Thousand Tracings: Healing the Wounds of World War II, Hyperion Books for Children, 2007

This book is absolutely wondrous. Based on actual letters, and the memories of her mother, the author uses her mother's voice as the narrator to relate in spare, haunting text how her parents, the Hamerstroms, had received a poignant letter from a German friend whose family faced a scarcity of goods especially shoes after WWII ended. In response, they sent a care package; a very grateful Dr. Krammer thanked his friends profusely, but also requested that they help some other families. Soon a slew of letters, sent by these other families, arrived with tracings of feet so recipients could receive shoes that fit them; there is a picture of the author's grandmother reading a letter and looking stunned with a hand placed over her mouth. The inside front and back covers display reproductions of letters and lists documenting items sent. "Mama and I found clearance sales, gathered unclaimed shoes at repair shops, and collected them from neighbors." They "cleaned" shoes and "put in new lacing" "Our neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, canned and sold beans from her garden to earn postage for the packages she sent." This outpouring of generosity and compassion blossomed and eventually many thousands of Americans even those who did not have much themselves gave what they could. Some children gave up wearing shoes for the summer and donated them knowing that they would need to wait until fall to get new ones. Atmospheric and touching illustrations mirror the text. In one muted double spread, the young narrator sits in a room amidst tracings and shoes that she is working to match. This inspiring story is totally accessible to children even as it also affects adults and a copy should be available in every library. The author has a web site where she offers more details about this heartwarming project including information about the people involved and reproductions of letters; she also provides a discussion guide and suggests some activities for teachers to use with their students.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tracing the steps to peace June 4 2007
By A reader in New England - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Beautifully illustrated and sensitively told, this is a moving story that should become a classic. Teachers take note, this is not only a fascinating story, but it offers a challenging and timely lesson about waging peace after a war.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Illustrated Story of Compassion During Wartime May 31 2007
By Thomas J. White - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"One Thousand Tracings" is an immensely inspiring book by a singular storyteller and artist--one of our best. Lita Judge draws our attention to the aftermath of World War II, when her grandparents, in possession of actual foot tracings, mailed thousands of shoes from America to the men, women, and children of devastated Europe. This is compassion of the most authentic sort: what is more human, after all, than the need to protect one's feet on the long road of reconstruction and survival? For all the historical and philosophical relevence, the heart of this book is a mesmerizing children's story. Lita Judge tells this tale through the eyes of a young American girl whose father served in World War II, and it is the innocence of youth that prevails here--a time in our lives when we are incapable of accepting, much less understanding, the divisions caused by overzealous nationalism and the wars it promotes. Perhaps most wondrous of all, the illustrations, combined with actual foot tracings and photographs, are magnificent. "One Thousand Tracings" represents the best that children's books have to offer: a story depicting the eternal truth that we are one, connected by the drive for survival and acceptance, and accompanied by stunning visuals. I believe it is a book that will inspire generations of children, as well as reawaken in the hearts of parents the eternal magic of compassion.

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