A Morris Award Finalist
Longlisted for the National Book Award
For fans of The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes a lushly illustrated novel about a teen Holocaust survivor who must come to terms with who she is and how to rebuild her life.
"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
After losing her family and everything she knew in the Nazi concentration camps, Gerta is finally liberated, only to find herself completely alone. Without her papa, her music, or even her true identity, she must move past the task of surviving and on to living her life. In the displaced persons camp where she is staying, Gerta meets Lev, a fellow teen survivor who she just might be falling for, despite her feelings for someone else. With a newfound Jewish identity she never knew she had, and a return to the life of music she thought she lost forever, Gerta must choose how to build a new future.
"What the Night Sings is a book from the heart, of the heart, and to the heart. Vesper Stamper's Gerta will stay with you long after you turn the last page. Her story is one of hope and redemption and life--a blessing to the world." --Deborah Heiligman, award-winning author of Charles and Emma and Vincent and Theo
A WALL STREET JOURNAL BEST CHILDREN'S BOOK OF 2018
A KIRKUS REVIEWS BEST BOOK OF 2018
Stamper's exceptionally moving debut goes beyond recounting the suffering inflicted on Jews during the Holocaust to explore a young woman's conflict between love and artistic ambition. Fourteen-year-old Gerta Richter, a talented singer and daughter of a violist in the W rzburg Orchestra, learned that she is actually Gerta Rausch, a Jew, when she and her father were forcibly removed from W rzburg by the Nazis one night in June 1944. The novel opens with the British liberation of German concentration camps in 1945 and moves smoothly among Gerta's prewar life, her stay in concentration camps and the Bergen-Belsen Displaced Persons camp, and her postwar flight to Palestine. Focusing on Gerta's transitional time as a displaced person, Stamper delves into her fight to regain her musical gift, her deepening relationship with a fellow survivor, her growing identity as a Jew, and her struggle to make decisions about her future. 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. Ages 12 up.