by Kate Geis
Uri Shulevitz witnessed the Nazi blitz over Warsaw, Poland, when he was 4 years old. He and his parents were smuggled out in 1939 escaping the Nazis. “Forget about your fascist Poland,” said the director of a Siberian camp they were forced into, “here you will live and here you will die.”Shulevitz recalled this moment in his life to a spellbound audience at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art on the occasion of the retrospective honoring his 80th year. “Everything was scarce, there was a scarcity of paper and so any scrap of paper that I could find I used. For charcoal I used a stick of burnt wood, for colors I used leaves, and… flower petals.” Out of scarcity Shulevitz nurtured a creative life that would feed him during the years he and his family were refugees. In that journey and into adulthood Uri became a celebrated picture book author and illustrator of over 40 books, earning three Caldecott Honors. How does one survive suffering and become an artist? This short film will attempt to answer that question, Shulevitz will articulate his life in his own words and art, that if budget permits, will be animated to poignantly convey his life.
Photo by Alexandra de Montrichard © The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art