Crushing the Red Flowers

By :  The Library of the Jewish Theological Seminary Posted On May 13, 2021 | Author Conversations: Between the Lines

An online discussion with Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

Award-winning author Jennifer Voigt Kaplan discusses her novel, Crushing the Red Flowers.

Crushing the Red Flowers is the story of how two ordinary boys cope under the extraordinary circumstances of Kristallnacht. Based on true family experiences, the book alternates perspectives between two 12-year-olds, a German Jewish boy, and a boy in Hitler’s Jungvolk. Join Jennifer Voigt Kaplan as she discusses her book, research, the writing process, and how she used other art forms as inspiration. She’ll also touch on how hate evolved in 1938 Germany and explore the idea of small acts of resistance by everyday people. The talk is suitable for tweens, teens, and adults.

Crushing the Red Flowers starts and stops in 1938. Jennifer structured the book this way to provide younger readers an understanding of the circumstances that led up to the Holocaust. She wanted to write a story that gives these readers enough distance to appreciate the gravity of the events, but not become overwhelmed by it. Her hope is that her book compels children to reflect on their own lives and think about confronting hate today – toward Jewish individuals and other targeted communities.

Bestselling author James Patterson writes: “Germany in 1938 comes alive and will be unforgettable to young readers in this powerful debut novel, Crushing the Red Flowers.”

This event was sponsored by The JTS Library. Dr. David Kraemer, Joseph J. and Dora Abbell Librarian and professor of Talmud and Rabbinics, JTS, served as moderator.

About Jennifer Voigt Kaplan

Jennifer Voigt Kaplan is an award-winning author of children’s fiction. Her debut novel, Crushing the Red Flowers, was endorsed by James Patterson and won a 2020 Christopher Award in the Books for Young People category. It was also recognized in six literary contests before its publication, including winning the middle-grade category of Publishers Weekly Booklife Prize for Fiction. Jennifer was born in Germany, raised in Philadelphia, and now resides in the New York City area. She holds degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and from the London School of Economics.