A Special Book Dedication
Dedicating a book to someone is usually meant to be an honor for that person, but in the case of ‘What Rosa Brought’, it felt more like the reverse. For me, it felt like I was the one who was honored to be able to make the dedication:
“For my bookmaking ally, Jen Rofé–and for the memory of hers who lived it.”
Jen is my literary agent.
Jen’s paternal grandparents and Jewish family members were in Poland when Hitler established the ghettos and concentration camps. In this photo, the circled family members of her grandmother’s side survived the Holocaust, her grandmother Sally surviving multiple camps including Auschwitz. All the others were killed. (Jen’s correction to the photo: the little boy Jacques also survived). Jen’s grandfather was the only survivor of his entire family. Her grandparents met in a displaced persons camp after the war, and they eventually moved to Los Angeles and built a beautiful life and family.
I referenced her family portrait from time to time while I was drawing some of the extras in the book and for costume and period reference, along with many great photos from author Jacob Sager-Weinstein of his mother Rosa’s family (I’ll be sharing more about those, too!).
Jen is a person I’m capital ’T’ Thankful for. She’s an amazing person, and a fierce supporter. As an agent, she has never, not once, pressured me to take a project that wasn’t feeling right for any reason at all. She has a strong voice, which I need as someone who often struggles to find my voice, but is also a listener, which I also need for when I do eventually find the thoughts and words I need to express.
Jen is going to be using ‘What Rosa Brought’ to help introduce her family’s history to her own two young daughters. And, gosh, I can’t imagine a bigger HONOR for a book illustrator than that.