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Author-illustrator Vesper Stamper was born in Nuremberg, Germany on an army base and grew up in New York City. She started drawing fairy tales almost as soon as she could hold a pencil, obsessively copying her favorite picture books. In middle school she realized this was what she wanted to do with her life, and attended LaGuardia High School of the Arts in Manhattan, where she studied Visual Art and Vocal Music. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Illustration, with Honors, from Parsons School of Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in Illustration as Visual Essay from School of Visual Arts. In short, she spent most of her adult life riding the Number 1 train to and from one art school or another.
After twenty years as an illustrator, with four picture books behind her, this year she released her debut novel for Young Adults, an illustrated work of historical fiction called What the Night Sings, which tells the story of the Holocaust from a different perspective, namely, what happened to the Jewish survivors in the immediate aftermath of World War II. What the Night Sings has been longlisted for the National Book Award, is a Junior Library Guild Selection and has received starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly and School Library Journal. The Wall Street Journal said “The delicate play of emotions between the characters, and within Gerta herself, is beautifully etched by Ms. Stamper against a backdrop of unfathomable loss and suffering.” Kristen Hannah, author of The Nightingale called it “a tour de force,” and Printz-Award Honoree Deborah Heiligman, author of Vincent and Theo, called the story one “of hope and redemption and life—a blessing to the world.”
Vesper speaks to students, community and religious groups about why the lessons of the Holocaust are so important to us today, and why the stories of Survivors must be retold by this generation as we say goodbye to theirs. She and her husband, filmmaker Ben Stamper, collaborate on many visual and musical projects, and have a passion for mentoring young artists toward recognizing the fathomless potential in their creativity.
Vesper Stamper's debut novel, What the Night Sings, has been longlisted for the National Book Award and received numerous accolades for recounting the seldom-told story of what happened to Holocaust survivors in the aftermath of World War 2. For twenty years, Author-Illustrator Vesper Stamper has created work through which asks the central question: how do people, especially children, who suffer trauma, go on to rise above their experiences as victims and go beyond surviving to flourishing? She believes in the dignity of every human being as made in the image of God, and in the resilience of the human spirit.