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Terezin book wins

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2012-12-21

A book which aims to teach children about life in the concentration camp Terezin has won its author a major award from the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.

Terezin: A Story of the Holocaust by Ruth Thomson was named the winner at a House of Commons reception earlier this month, with Thomson being presented with a £2000 prize by Ed Vaizey MP.

The book, which is aimed at children aged 11-18, fought off competition from a trio of factual titles, which covered British history and legendary explorers as well as explaining religious faith in a manner which young people could understand.

It takes an in-depth look at the Terezin/Theresienstadt ghetto which was situated on the outskirts of the Czech capital Prague during World War II, and features first-person accounts of life there as well as works of art from some of the artists who were imprisoned in the camp.

The judges were unanimous in awarding the prize to Thomson, describing the book as "quietly impressive and unforgettable".

They added: "By investigating life inside one camp, the author lays bare the horrors faced by everyone caught up in the Holocaust. This is an exemplary winner, which packs a massive emotional punch. We’d go as far as to call this one of the finest children’s non-fiction books for many years."

Thomson commented on her win. "I am thrilled that Terezín has received wider recognition with this prestigious award, since my main intention for this book was to give a voice to those whose voices had been silenced."

Thomson, an educational writer who has also worked for the National Gallery, Tate Galleries and Imperial War Museum, has previously written books about the Victorian Era as well as the Aztecs. Her Terezin book was inspired while researching Holocaust art for a display at London's Gallery of Jewish Art.