I realize that attempting to bring a feature-length animated film into the world is not for the faint at heart. I have considered running away from the challenge many times over the past nine years, but a little boy keeps pulling me back. His name is Stop Thief, or so he believes, as he runs from the Nazi Jackboots in 1940s Poland, stealing bread to stay alive.
Since finding my way to “Milkweed,” Jerry Spinelli’s breathtaking young adult novel, I have not been able to get endearing, maddening, courageous little Stop Thief out of my head — or my heart.
“Milkweed,” though placed in the years leading up to the Holocaust, is not solely a story about the Holocaust. It is a love story that crosses time and an ocean. It is a story of selflessness and devastating loss. Ultimately, it is the universal story of our human quest for identity and meaning.
When I read “Milkweed,” as a Jew, as a mother and as a writer, I knew that I had to find a way to share it. While my team’s goal is to reach a world-wide audience, we are focused on getting the film — and a comprehensive and interactive teaching curriculum – into middle schools nationwide. Our children do not know what the Holocaust is. They don’t understand the urgency of connecting the dots from Charlottesville and Pittsburgh to Nazi Germany, and it’s not their fault. We must teach them.
With film rights in place, the lean and beautiful screenplay complete, and my creative teams in place, I am ready to seek funding, both crowdsourced and philanthropic, to bring “Milkweed” to life.
Please join me and the Milkweed team on this extraordinary and life-affirming adventure.