Irena's Jars of Secrets
By Marcia Vaughan
Illustrated by Ron Mazellan
Irena Sendler, born to a Polish Catholic family, was raised to respect people of all backgrounds and to help those in need. She became a social worker; and after the German army occupied Poland during World War II, Irena knew she had to help the sick and starving Jews who were imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto. She began by smuggling food, clothing, and medicine into the ghetto, then turned to smuggling children out of the ghetto. Using false papers and creative means of escape, and at great personal risk, Irena helped rescue Jewish children and hide them in safe surroundings. Hoping to reunite the children with their families after the war, Irena kept secret lists of the children’s identities.
Motivated by conscience and armed with compassion and a belief in human dignity, Irena Sendler confronted an enormous moral challenge and proved to the world that an ordinary person can accomplish deeds of extraordinary courage.
About the Creators
is an award-winning author of numerous books for children, including Snap!, a Junior Library Guild Selection, Whistling Dixie, an ALA Notable book, and The Secret to Freedom, a Teachers' Choices Award winner published by LEE & LOW BOOKS. A full-time author, Vaughan is a popular speaker at national and regional conferences. She lives in Vashon Island, Washington, with her family.
is the illustrator of several award-winning picture books, among them The Harmonica, which appeared in The Original Art, a gallery show of children’s book illustrations. He holds an MFA degree in illustration and is a professor of art at Indiana Wesleyan University. Mazellan was drawn to Irena’s Jars of Secrets by Irena Sendler’s character, bravery, and selfless acts of kindness. He and his family live in Marion, Indiana. His Web site is ronmazellan.com.