When I Grow Up: The Lost Auto­bi­ogra­phies of Six Yid­dish Teenagers by Ken Krim­stein

When I Grow Up: The Lost Auto­bi­ogra­phies of Six Yid­dish Teenagers by Ken Krim­stein

From the prize-winning author of The Three Escapes of Hannah Arendt, a stunning graphic narrative of newly discovered stories from Jewish teens on the cusp of WWII.

When I Grow Up is New Yorker cartoonist Ken Krimstein’s new graphic nonfiction book, based on six of hundreds of newly discovered, never-before-published autobiographies of Eastern European Jewish teens on the brink of WWII―found in 2017 hidden in a Lithuanian church cellar.

These autobiographies, long thought destroyed by the Nazis, were written as entries for three competitions held in Eastern Europe in the 1930s, just before the horror of the Holocaust forever altered the lives of the young people who wrote them.

In When I Grow Up, Krimstein shows us the stories of these six young men and women in riveting, almost cinematic narratives, full of humor, yearning, ambition, and all the angst of the teenage years. It’s as if half a dozen new Anne Frank stories have suddenly come to light, framed by the dramatic story of the documents’ rediscovery.

Beautifully illustrated, heart-wrenching, and bursting with life, When I Grow Up reveals how the tragedy that is about to befall these young people could easily happen again, to any of us, if we don’t learn to listen to the voices from the past.

Year first published: 2021

Read a review on Jewish Book Council

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