Authors Neal Shusterman and Sharon Cameron Share Stories of Hope From the Holocaust

January 23, 2024

Authors Neal Shusterman and Sharon Cameron Share Stories of Hope From the Holocaust


In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, we spotlight two Scholastic authors who depict everyday acts of heroism in their latest novels about the Holocaust. First, Neal Shusterman talks about Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust, his new graphic novel for young readers. The book is beautifully illustrated by Andrés Vera Martínez.

Then, Sharon Cameron discusses Artifice, her latest work of historical fiction for young adults.

“I hope [young readers] take away a sense of hope in the face of despair,” Neal says. “Even in these dark times, there were stories of people who did remarkable things, who put themselves at risk to help save others.”

Neal is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 30 award-winning books for children, teens, and adults, including the Skinjacker trilogy, the Unwind dystology, and Challenger Deep, which won the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Neal was recently honored by the ALA with the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. 

Sharon is the author of the international bestseller and Reese’s Book Club pick, The Light in Hidden Places, and the acclaimed thriller, Bluebird. Her debut novel, The Dark Unwinding, was awarded the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators’ Sue Alexander Award for Most Promising New Work and the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award, among other honors.


Storyman: Check out Neal Shusterman’s author bio.

The “Accidental” Author: Learn more about Sharon Cameron and her titles for young readers.

24 Books for Teaching the Holocaust: These powerful works of fiction and nonfiction are for students in Grades 1 – 12.

When We Flew Away: In an upcoming novel for young readers, author Alice Hoffman reimagines the life of Anne Frank before she began keeping a diary.

The Tower of Life: Suzanne McCabe talks with author Chana Stiefel about The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs. The picture book, which is illustrated by Susan Gal, won the 2023 Sydney Taylor Book Award and the Margaret Wise Brown Prize for Children’s Literature, among other honors.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day: Learn more about the annual commemoration, which takes place on January 27, and read survivors’ accounts collected by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

A Holocaust Exhibition for Kids Opens in New York City: “Courage to Act” tells the story of a dramatic rescue mission of Denmark’s Jewish population during World War II. Kid Reporter Deirdre Liebman toured the exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage last fall. 


Neal Shusterman, author, Courage to Dream: Tales of Hope in the Holocaust

“There are a lot of kids who might not pick up a book about the Holocaust. They might not want to delve into such a difficult subject. But here was a way of bringing in readers who might not normally read this kind of story and then get them interested in it and wanting to know what really happened.”

“I hope [young readers] take away a sense of hope in the face of despair. Even in these dark times, there were stories of people who did remarkable things, who put themselves at risk to help save others.”

“This is a book about history. I didn’t want to talk about what was going on today. But since the October 7 attacks, there has been a 400% rise in antisemitic acts in the United States.”

Sharon Cameron, author, Artifice

“Writing is a second career for me. I was a classical pianist for a very long time, about 20 years, and I thought that’s what I would do forever. But one fateful day, with a 45-minute session at my computer, I fell head over heels in love with creating story and the written word.”

Artifice tells the story of Isa DeSmit, a girl who has grown up in the glittering bohemian world of her parents’ art gallery in Amsterdam. But this is a world that has been utterly destroyed by the Nazi occupation. The art has been confiscated because it is considered degenerate, and the artists are gone. Friends and family are gone because they’re Jewish or communist or gay. So Isa decides to create her own revenge. She decides to learn the art of a master forger so that she can sell a forged painting to Hitler. She’ll take the money from this forged painting and use it to fund a baby smuggling ring, a wing of the Dutch resistance that is smuggling the last Jewish babies and toddlers out of the city.”

“The novel is based on two true stories—of Johan van Hulst, who was an absolutely amazing man who rescued Jewish children during the war, and Han van Meegeren, one of the great art forgers of the 20th century who sold a forged Vermeer to Hermann Göring. The painting hung over Göring’s desk as the jewel of his art collection. Van Meegeren made money hand over fist, and he lived it up during the war while the rest of the country starved. The juxtaposition between these two men [is what] really interested me and made me want to write this book.”

Special Thanks

Producer: Maxine Osa

Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan

Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl

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