Walker Books will publish Michael Rosen’s The Missing; The True Story of my Family in World War Two in January 2020.
World rights were acquired from Charles Walker at United Agents by senior editor Becky Watson. “A personal, powerful and resonant account of the Holocaust by one of this country’s best-loved children’s authors, told through poetry and prose, the book will be an essential tool for discussing a historical event on a personal level with young people,” Walker said.
The Missing will be published for readers aged 10 upwards on 2nd January 2020, in time for the Holocaust Memorial Day commemorations on 27th January 2020 which mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz and 25 years since the Bosnian Genocide.
“By turns charming, shocking and heart-breaking, this is the true story of Michael Rosen’s search for his relatives,” the synopsis reads. “When Michael was growing up, stories often hung in the air about his great-uncles: one was a clock-mender and the other a dentist. They were there before the war, his dad would say, and weren’t after. Over many years, Michael tried to find out exactly what happened: he interviewed family members, scoured the internet, pored over books and travelled to America and France. The story he uncovered was one of terrible persecution – and it has inspired his poetry for years since.”
Rosen said: “From the time I was a boy, I knew that people were missing from our family but knowing this was linked to a feeling that it would be impossible to find out what happened to them. When I found out as a teenager that this was part of what the Nazis wanted, that people like my father’s uncles and aunts would be wiped from European history, it became a project for me: to find out. Though this has been painful and at times horrific, at least finding out was in its own way a victory against that horror and against the intention to wipe them from history. I hope that this work that I did will inspire anyone – especially young people – to try to dig into the past to research their relatives, especially the ‘missing’ ones. This is our history and it’s up to us to find it.”
Watson said: “We’re so proud to be publishing this important book: it couldn’t feel more timely in its telling. As Michael shares the story of his 'missing' relatives, he clearly and powerfully lays out the historical context, without once speaking down to his audience; a testament to his tremendous skill as a writer. The Missing will surely prove a valuable tool for explaining the Holocaust to children – and it’s equally essential reading for the adults in their lives.”
The book is supported and checked by the UCL Centre for Holocaust Education. Rosen will be undertaking media and events to support publication of The Missing.