Thanks to a random drawing on Kathy Temean’s website Writing and Illustrating for Children https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/ I recently won a copy of a beautiful book: Vesper Stamper’s debut YA titled WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS. Not only is it a wonderful read, it is a piece of art. Thick pages, like the canvas of a painting, with illustrations and images painted with words that make me want to share this story with the world. Here is my review for this special book:
WHAT THE NIGHT SINGS by Vesper Stamper is an exquisitely told tale of despair, hope, love and how music has the power to heal even the most damaged souls.
I knew this would be an amazing book from the moment I held it in my hands. The weight of it, the thickness of each page, the light and shadow of each illustration reinforced my assumption that this was a story to be reckoned with. A force that should not be denied. A serious tale that will imprint itself into the psyche, like the horrific numbers branded onto the arms of holocaust survivors.
Gerta is a survivor of the death camps and lived through the horror of watching so many loved ones, including her beloved Papa, die. Singing meant everything to her – before. Before the rounding up, before the detainment, before the concentration camps. When liberation finally came, Gerta lost her voice and had to be content with playing her Papa’s viola. Alone, with her whole life in front of her, how can Gerta find her place, her peace, her voice and maybe even love in this uncertain world?
This story will stay with you long after you turn the final page.
“A tour de force. This powerful story of love, loss, and survival is not to be missed.” –KRISTIN HANNAH, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Nightingale
“…will leave readers gasping.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Generously illustrated with Stamper’s haunting spot images and larger scenes, all in deep brown hues that evoke profound emotion, the book is a strong addition to the bookshelf of Holocaust fiction.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The narrative is spare but powerful as it depicts the daily horrors of the camps and the struggle to survive, hold on to humanity and, once freed, understand how to live again.”—School Library Journal, starred review
Vesper Stamper was born in Nuremberg, Germany and raised in New York City. Her family was an eclectic mix of engineers, musicians and artists who didn’t think Voltaire too tough for bedtime reading, Chopin Valses too loud for wake-up calls, or precision slide rules too fragile as playthings. She married filmmaker Ben Stamper right out of college, and together they have two wildly creative children. When Vesper earned her MFA in Illustration from School of Visual Arts, Ben gave her an orange tree. She illustrates and writes under its leaves and blossoms at her grandfather’s old drafting table, in the pine woods of the Northeast.