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Archive for the ‘Jewish/Jewish American’ Category

Yolen, J. (1988). The devil’s arithmetic. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Hannah dreads Passover at her grandparent’s house.  She’s tired of remembering and observing all the Jewish traditions.  When she opens the door to Elijah, she’s transported to Nazi Europe where she experiences the Holocaust for herself.

My grade:  A
I am partial to fantasy, so I enjoyed that aspect of this story.  I also like how Hannah gained a new perspective on her Grandfather’s behavior.

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Wiviott, M. (2010). Benno and the night of broken glass. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben Publishing.
The beginning of the Holocaust, the Night of Broken Glass, is shown through the perspective of a cat.  Benno’s world changes completely in 1938 when the German government begins its campaign against Jews.

My grade: A+
This story is very well-told and I think the use of a cat as a narrator gives it an interesting perspective that would capture the attention of young readers.  Josee Bisaillon’s illustrations are absolutely incredible.  As wonderful as the story is, the illustrations almost steal the limelight.

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Schur, M. R. (1999). The peddler’s gift. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Schur’s tale is a new version of wise fool stories.  In this version, Shimon the Peddler is called Shnook by the village children because he exhibits no skill as a peddler and seems unintelligent.  However, Shimon’s capacity for forgiveness shows Leibush Shimon’s true worth.

My grade: A
This book teaches a valuable lesson about stealing, forgiveness and judging others.  Kimberly Bulcken Root’s illustrations show such wonderful facial expressions and add to the overall charm of this book.

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Wayland, A. H. (2009). New year at the pier: A Rosh Hashanah story. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
New Year at the Pier focuses on one tradition associated with Rosh Hashanah, Tashlich.  Tashlich represents letting go of one’s mistakes and starting the next year anew.  Izzy has four things he is sorry for and this story follows him as he apologizes for his mistakes.

My grade: A+
I had never heard of the tradition of Tashlich and I think I am in love with it.  I love the idea of a ritual to help you move past your mistakes and learn from them. Stephane Jorisch’s illustrations are wonderful, as well.

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Meltzer, M. (2008). Albert Einstein: A biography. New York, NY: Holiday House.
Meltzer traces Albert Einstein’s life from a young boy in Germany through his death in the United States.  Attention is given to both his scientific achievements and his anti-war, humanitarian sentiments.  Pictures of Einstein and items related to him are also included.

My grade: B+
This book is intended for children, so it had to present a simplified biography.  The inclusion of a time line at the end does present more facts for the reader.  My complaint (and it has less to do with the text written by the author) is that the pictures are undated.  I am curious to know when some of them were taken.

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