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Iʹm Not a Thief

Tami Shem-Tov
AGE: 10-14

Recipient of the Lea Goldberg Prize 2013, an Andersen Honor Citation 2014, the Public Libraries Award 2014 and the Bialik Prize 2014!

This is a beautiful novel about a young boy who is sent to an orphanage. It is the world's first democratic orphanage and was founded in Warsaw, a hundred years ago, by Janus Korczak, the Polish-Jewish educator, writer and fighter for children's rights.
In the story, Yanek Wolf, a Jewish orphan, petty thief and an outstanding athlete, lives with his older sister. After her marriage, she sends him to a sheltered home for children, where he is severely beaten for stealing. He is so badly injured that his dream of representing Poland at the Olympic Games is shattered.
Angry and depressed, he arrives at Korczak’s orphanage, and there he finds a place where not only children's basic needs are taken care of, but they also experience love and care; they are also given privileges and obligations. He adapts to this children's society, which is based on solidarity and has a democratic constitution. And this, together with his relationship with Korczak, enables Yanek to change. From being a lonely, silent boy who roams the streets, oblivious to all but himself, he becomes observant, expressive and even compassionate. He discovers a new passion for life, and becomes a reporter for the national children’s newspaper founded by Korczak.
Yanek Wolf is a fictional character, but the plot is based on actual people and events that took place in Korczak's orphanage in the mid-1930s. It ends before World War II, when Yanek – encouraged by Korczak – joins his sister and they leave Poland. As a farewell gift Korczak grants him an interview, in which he tells Yanek of his own childhood and his plans and dreams, including his greatest dream: to create an orphanage for Jewish and Arab children in Palestine - a dream that never came true.
It is 100 years since the orphanage was established and 70 years since Korczak's death in the Nazi death camp, Treblinka. When the children were deported there, he chose to accompany them. 

Title Iʹm Not A Thief
Author’s Last Name Shem-Tov
Author's First Name Tami
Language(s) Japanese
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Kinneret, Zmora-Bitan
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2012
No. Pages 203 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Ani Lo Ganav
Representation Represented by ITHL


Japanese: Tokyo, Fukuinkan, 2015
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