HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8Speed Interview with Iris Argaman, Author of Bear and Fred: A World War II Story

Speed Interview with Iris Argaman, Author of Bear and Fred: A World War II Story

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The Children’s Book Review

Iris Argaman

Iris Argaman is the author of a number of books for children, including Bear and Fred, which was awarded the Yad Vashem Prize in Israel and the Giovanni Arpino Prize for Children’s Literature in Italy. She lives in Israel, where she is a lecturer on children’s literature, holds writing workshops, and writes activity books that promote museum education.

The Children’s Book Review: Which five words best describe Bear and Fred: A World War II Story?

Iris Argaman: Home. Friendship. Journey. Thread. Loneliness.

Can you share a highlight from the book? Or maybe your thoughts on, or an excerpt of, your favorite sentence, paragraph, or page?

“We took walks for hours and hours in the forest and in the fields.

Fred picked leaves and flowers, and sometimes we’d climb a tree and sit on a branch, way up high.” 

This sentence is from the end of the book: I felt that I couldn’t finish the book without a tree. I love trees! So I decided to put Fred and Bear on a tree branch and tell through the metaphor that there is a good future somewhere. 

What has been the best reaction from a readerso far?

The best reaction to the book was from an elementary school class who had made bears with their teacher. The bears looked like Bear and they were packed inside a big box along with a letter. It was so lovely and touching and made me cry. 

What’s on your nightstand? Any books?

On my nightstand there are many books. I am currently reading Clarice Lispector. I love reading short stories, children’s books, and graphic novels. In addition to books, I have a tablet only for jazz music. 

For your writing energy: sugar or salt, tea or coffee? 

I love coffee, but I drink it only in the morning. While I’m writing, I drink herbal tea without sugar and try not to eat, but it’s hard… so I hide chocolate for emergencies

Writing tools: computer, pen and paper, or all of the above?

I love pencils! I have a huge collection of pencils. I write my ideas and thoughts in a notebook only with pencils, but when I’m starting to work seriously, I work on the computer. 

Can you tell us one more thing we may not know about Bear and Fred: A World War II Story, your writing and illustrating style, or yourself?

The idea to write the story came from an article I read in the newspaper about Bear and I felt compelled to write about it. The reaction from publishing houses wasn’t good. I was told people wouldn’t love the story and that I was wasting my time. I persisted and the book was finally published. Since then, I have received letters from readers all over the world. 

I chose to write this book based on a real story because I wanted to tell a story with hope, love, and friendship, a book that shows the bright side.

Bear and Fred: A World War II Story

Written by Iris Argaman

Illustrated by Avi Ofer

Translated by Annette Appel

Publisher’s Synopsis: The true story of a Jewish boy in hiding during World War II, as told by his teddy bear.

I felt Fred’s small hand grab me.
He patted me and whispered,
“Bear, I won’t leave you here all by yourself.
You are my best friend.”

Based on true events and beautifully illustrated, this is the story of a friendship that will last forever—told by Fred’s best friend, his beloved teddy bear.

During World War II, Fred must leave his home and live in hiding, apart from the rest of his family, but he always keeps Bear by his side. Bear knows it’s his job to take care of Fred and make sure he doesn’t feel alone.

After the war, Fred and his family are reunited and leave Holland for the United States. And still Bear is with him. When Fred grows up, he and Bear part for the first time when Bear is sent to Yad Vashem—the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel, where this book was first published—to show the power of hope, friendship, and love.

Ages 6-9 | Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids | May 1, 2020 | ISBN-13: 978-1542018210

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Book Giveaway

Enter for a chance to win a copy of Bear and Fred: A World War II Story!

Three (3) winners receive:

  • A copy of Bear and Fred: A World War II Story

Giveaway begins April 29, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends May 29, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

How To Enter
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This speed interview with Iris Argaman, author of Bear and Fred: A World War II Story, was conducted by Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with , , , , , and . Be sure to follow along with our series, too.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

Comments
  • What a wonderful and positive story about love & hope.

    April 29, 2020
  • What a suprise when book arrived. Know it will be enjoyed.

    Thanks,

    Vera Wilaon

    June 16, 2020

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