Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued


Nicky & Vera: A Quiet Hero of the Holocaust and the Children He Rescued


About the Event

February 23, 2021 at 6pm
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Acclaimed children's book author Peter Sís will discuss his new book with CEERES.

Elizabeth Pick is one of the 669 children transported from Czechoslovakia to London by Sir Nicholas Winton. She and her children Karen and Charles will join in the conversation with Peter Sís. Associate Director of CEERES Esther Peters will moderate the conversation.

About the Book

Book cover

Czech-American artist, MacArthur Fellow, and three-time Caldecott Honoree Peter Sís honors a man who saved hundreds of children from the Nazis—and never told anyone about it.

In 1939, twenty-nine-year-old Nicholas Winton saved the lives of almost 700 children trapped in Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia. When the war began and no more children could be rescued, he put away his records and told no one. It was only fifty years later that a chance discovery and a famous television appearance brought Winton’s actions to light and reunited him with some of the children he saved.

In this distinctive and deeply personal picture book, Peter Sís weaves together Winton’s experiences and the story of one of the children he saved, Vera Gissing, whose family enlisted Nicky’s aid when the Germans occupied their country. As the war passes and Vera grows up, she must find balance in her dual identities—one her birthright, the other her choice. Nicky & Vera is a masterful tribute to a humble man’s courageous efforts to protect Europe’s most vulnerable. A tale of decency, action, and courage, told in luminous, poetic images by an internationally renowned artist, Nicky & Vera is a timely portrayal of the hopes and fears of those forced to leave their homes and create new lives.

About the Author

Peter Sís

Peter Sís is an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author, and filmmaker. He
was born in Brno, Czechoslovakia, and attended the Academy of Applied Arts in Prague and the Royal College of Art in London. Sís’s books, Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei, Tibet Through the Red Box, and The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain were each named Caldecott Honor Books by the American Library Association, and The Wall also was awarded the Robert F. Sibert Medal for the most distinguished informational book for young readers. In addition, he has had seven books named to The New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year list, was the first children’s book illustrator to win the MacArthur Fellowship, and in 2012 won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for lifelong achievement, the highest international recognition given to an author and an illustrator of children's books. Sís also was chosen to deliver the 2012 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture for the Association for Library Service to Children. He lives in Irvington, New York.

About the interlocutors

liza pick

Liza Pick lives in San Rafael, California and is a retired librarian.  She spent over 40 years living and working in the northeast, while raising her family, with her late husband, George. They retired to Sonoma, California.. Liza and George enjoyed over 50 years of marriage with close  family, friends, music and travel.



charlie and karen

Charlie Pick lives nearby in San Rafael, California and is an architect. His firm, Basis Architecture, addresses affordable housing issues across the USA. He lives with his wife and has a son.

Karen (Pick) Wald lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota (and visits San Rafael frequently). She is a speech-language pathologist. She lives with her husband and has two grown children.




esther peters

Esther Peters received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2014. In 2015 she returned to the University as Outreach and Campus Programing Coordinator for the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian Studies, where she is currently serving as the Center’s Associate Director.





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