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It's My Whole Life, Charlotte Salomon: An Artist in Hiding During World War II

Winner of the 2022 National Jewish Book Award for Young Adult Literature, It’s My Whole
Life, Charlotte Salomon: An Artist in Hiding During World War II is the first biography for
young readers about Holocaust artist and modernist Charlotte Salomon (1917 Berlin-Auschwitz
1943). Salomon is remembered for her painted memoir, Life? or Theater?, which consists of a
33,000-word text and 769 individual gouache paintings created between 1940 and 1942 while
she was in hiding from the Nazis in the south of France. Life? or Theater? is the largest single
work of art created by a Jew during the Holocaust and has been described as a painted parallel to
Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl as well as a groundbreaking graphic novel precursor.
Salomon’s words and paintings are an ode to how art can capture both life’s everyday beauty and
its monumental horrors.

It’s My Whole Life covers Charlotte’s life from her childhood and art school days in
Berlin to her time as a refugee in Nazi-occupied France to her deportation to Auschwitz. The
author has combined research from recognized international Salomon scholars with original
research presented for the first time. Illustrated throughout with full-color images of Salomon’s
paintings, along with historical photographs—including several that were previously
unknown—the book is a portrait of a young artist working to make a name for herself while
enduring racism, psychological abuse, refugee status, a history of family suicides, and the
inescapable Nazi threat.

Norton Young Readers 
An Imprint of W. W. Norton & Company
(Fall 2022)