Two volumes of an exceptional humanistic literary work about the world’s first democratic orphanage.
When We Had Wings won Andersen Honor Citation 2014, Lea Goldberg Prize 2013, Dafdaf prize 2012, Israeli Public Libraries Prize, was selected for schooll book list by The Ministry of Education, selected as most beloved book by students for 2014 and 2015, and became a bestseller.
When We Had Wings is a novel for young readers based on true stories from the world’s first democratic orphanage. The institute was founded in Warsaw, Poland, in 1912 by Janusz Korczak, a revolutionary pedagogue, pediatrician and writer who dedicated his life to children and their right to live in dignity. For thirty years, the institute, self-managed by the children, served as a loving home for hundreds. It had a court, a constitution and a newspaper, and provided a self-supporting system. The children enjoyed culture and sports, and all worked as cooks and cleaners. They called it a “Garden of Eden for kids”. In the novel, the main character, Janek Wolff, is a street boy and thief who joins the orphanage. As was often the case, life there enabled him to find the strength to become a strong, honest and caring person. The novel ends before the beginning of World War II, as Korczak persuades Janek to leave Poland and save his life. Janusz Korczak was killed by the Nazis after refusing to abandon his children, who were sent to their death in concentration camps.
2012 | 203 pp. | Age 10-14 | English translation available | Rights Sold: English (world), Japanese, Hebrew
When We Flew Away won The Minister of Culture Prize 2021 for an excellent YA book
When We Flew Away continues the plots at the orphanage. It tells the story of Icho. Icho and Rosie couldn’t stand each other at Janusz Korczak’s orphanage, but now that the whole world was at war, they had to join forces in order to survive. With despair growing all around them, they won’t lose hope thanks to the wonderful things they learned from Korczak, the educator who truly understood children. Where will the road take them on their dangerous escape journey from their homeland, and will they realize their dream of meeting their friend Janek on the shores of Tel Aviv?
2020 | 270 pp. | Age 10-14 | English sample | Rights Sold: Hebrew
“An exceptional humanistic literary work. Shem-Tov shows how to tell a fascinating and sensitive story in a clear and simple way.” – excerpt of the judges statement of the Leah Goldberg Prize for Children and Youth Literature
“Tami Shem-Tov is one of those authors whose writing punches the readers right in the stomach, and they find themselves thanking her for writing them such a wonderful book.” – Prof. Miri Ben Baruch
Tami Shem-Tov is an award-winning author. She has written biographies, stories based on true events, and historical novels for children and young adults. Her books were translated into six langauges and have won the Bialik Prize 2014, the Israeli Public Libraries Award 2014, the Prime Minister’s Prize 2011, the German Children’s Literature Award 2010, the Yad Vashem Prize 2007, and the Ze’ev Prize 2008; 1999.