2006 – The True Story of Hansel and Gretel; Briar Rose; Hansel and Gretel

For 2006, the committee chose three books; one for adults, one for teens, and one for children.

The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy

In the winter of 1943, on the outskirts of a dark forest, two Jewish children flee the Nazis with their father and stepmother. In a moment of desperation, the children are given the aliases Hansel and Gretel and sent alone into the woods to hide. Gretel leads her brother in search of food and protection, while Hansel leaves a trail of breadcrumbs behind so that their father might find them again. So begins The True Story of Hansel and Gretel.   Murphy’s book has been described as, “A page turner as well as a moving testament to the human will to do good and survive despite all odds…”

Louise Murphy is the author of the novel The Sea Within and a book for children, My Garden. In addition to novels, Murphy writes poetry and has published in various magazines. She is currently working on a novel set in early California.

Briar Rose by Jane Yolen

A reviewer found Yolen’s retelling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty “both heartbreaking and heartwarming … a compelling reminder of the Holocaust as well as a contemporary tale of secrets and romance.” Briar Rose tells the story of Rebecca who has been enchanted since childhood by her grandmother Gemma’s stories. But a promise Rebecca makes to her dying grandmother will lead her on a remarkable journey to uncover the truth of Gemma’s claim, “I am Briar Rose.”

Jane Yolen, whose stories are loved by children and adults all around the world, is the author of over two hundred books, including novels, picture books, story collections, poetry, and nonfiction—leading Publisher’s Weekly to call her “America’s own Hans Christian Andersen.”

Hansel and Gretel illustrated by Paul Zelinsky

Paul Zelinsky’s first book appeared in 1978, since which time he has become recognized as one of the most inventive and critically successful artists in the field. Among many other awards and prizes, he received the 1998 Caldecott Medal for his illustrated retelling of Rapunzel, as well as Caldecott Honors for three of his books: Hansel and Gretel (1985), Rumpelstiltskin (1987), and Swamp Angel(1995). In Hansel and Gretel, the hauntingly spare retelling of this perennial favorite by the poet Rika Lesser perfectly complements the vivid storytelling of Zelinsky’s artwork.