I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker (Hardcover)

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I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker By Michal Skibinski, Ala Bankroft (Illustrator), Eliza Marciniak (Translated by) Cover Image

I Saw a Beautiful Woodpecker (Hardcover)

By Michal Skibinski, Ala Bankroft (Illustrator), Eliza Marciniak (Translated by)


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Staff Reviews

A stunning historical document written as a handwriting exercise by a Polish 8-year-old at the beginning of World War II. Gorgeous paintings by Ala Bankroft illustrate Skibinski’s spare, daily observations that are by turns mundane (“I went to church”) and ominous (“A plane circled over Anin”). This gorgeous object, interspersed with reproductions of the original notebook, can be admired even if you’re not a history buff. We are all keepers of History, this book reminds us, even if we think we’re not.


— From Staff Picks: Quirky and Gifty

This award-winning children's book is one eight-year-old Polish boy's evocative diary of the summer of 1939 when World War Two was tragically approaching his country.

It is the summer of 1939 in Warsaw, Poland and Michal is an eight- year-old boy just finishing his school year. In order to improve his handwriting, Michal’s teacher gives him a simple assignment: keep a journal, writing one sentence a day. Eighty years later, Michal’s diary has been gorgeously illustrated with beautifully atmospheric paintings. Eloquent in its simplicity, the journal is a remarkable artifact that captures the innocence of childhood and the trauma of war. The journal starts out with a typical boy’s observations: “July 15: I went to a stream with my brother and teacher.” “July 23: I found a caterpillar.” However over the course of weeks, menacing details emerge. “July 27: A plane was circling over Anin.” “September 1: The war has begun.” “September 3: I hid from planes.” “September 14: Warsaw is bravely defending itself.” These haunting entries are interspersed with visits from relatives, a soccer game, a trip to a park, an ice cream cone. Photographs of pages from Michal’s diary enhance the poignancy of this simple record—an ordinary holiday interrupted by war; a life changed forever by an extraordinary moment in history.
Michał Skibiński was 8 years old and a schoolboy at Warsaw Primary school when he wrote this diary in the summer 1939. Today he lives in a retirement house for elderly priests.

Ala Bankroft is a painter, photographer and film animator living in Warsaw, Poland.
Product Details ISBN: 9783791374864
ISBN-10: 3791374869
Publisher: Prestel Junior
Publication Date: October 5th, 2021
Pages: 128
Language: English