The Tree of Life
The Tree of Life

Hope triumphs over fear in this poignant and impactful true story of the Holocaust—a delicate introduction to World War Two history for older picture book readers.

During World War Two, in the concentration camp Terezin, a group of Jewish children and their devoted teacher planted and nurtured a smuggled-in sapling. Over time fewer and fewer children were left to care for the little tree, but those who remained kept lovingly sharing their water with it. When the war finally ended and the prisoners were freed, the sapling had grown into a strong five-foot-tall maple.

Nearly eighty years later the tree’s 600 descendants around the world are thriving . . . including one that was planted at New York City’s Museum of Jewish Heritage in 2021. Students will continue to care for it for generations to come, and the world will remember the brave teacher and children who never gave up nurturing a brighter future.

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Book Details


  • Historical Fiction
  • Picture book

Age Level: 

  • 5 - 8
Profile Picture

In the Terezin ghetto during WWII, surrounded by sadness and suffering, a small sapling grows to a large tree, nourished by the hopes, dreams, and sacrifices of a group of Jewish children and their teacher. Slowly, groups of children leave the ghetto, heading to other worse places, but their hope lives on with the tree. After the war, the tree has grown beyond what any of the children or their teacher could have dreamed. Although the tree cannot last forever, its seeds of life spread around the world.

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