Posts Tagged 'Jewish'

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

miss peregrine

Genre:  Supernatural

# of Pages:  382

RAC:  Yes

As a child Jacob was always told fantastic stories about the orphanage his grandfather grew up in headed by Miss Peregrine.  He even had photos depicting the many hidden talents of the children who came to live there including levitation, invisibility, and incredible strength.  As Jacob grew up he began to doubt his grandfather’s stories, but   nevertheless he and his grandfather were very close until the day he received a frantic call from his grandfather claiming he needed to get into his gun safe.  Jacob went to see him thinking it was merely an episode of senility brought on by old age, but when he arrived he sees his grandfather has been murdered by a creature he has never see or heard of before. After, his parents send Jacob to a psychiatrist to help him through the trauma he has experienced and he ends up deciding to go visit the little island where his grandfather’s stories came from.  He hopes this trip will bring him closure, but what he sees when he gets to this place is most unexpected and Jacob finds himself pulled into the past on that fateful day when Miss Peregrine’s home had become yet another casualty of WWII.  Were his grandfather’s stories true?  How is Jacob connected to all of this?

This is truly a very unique story that blends the present and the past through actual photos recovered from past archives and attics.  The characters and the story pull the reader in simply because it is so different than a lot of fiction out there currently.  The underlying problems and motivations of the characters are very relatable to everyone, but yet they are manifested through very unusual circumstances.  Fans of mystery, historical fiction, and supernatural fiction will all enjoy this title.

Advertisements

Sarah’s Key by Tatiana De Rosnay

Genre:  Historical Fiction

RAC:  Yes

This WWII story follows Sarah in 1942 and Julia in 2002.  Sarah’s family is rounded up by the French police and sent to a detention center, but her little brother refused to go and hid in a small closet in their room.  Sarah locked him in and kept the key promising to come back later in the day for him.  She did not think they would actually be detained since it was the French police and not the Germans rounding them up. When she realized she would not be going back to her home her and her father tried to leave to get her brother, but the police would not allow them out.  She held onto the key for weeks praying to find a way back to him.  In 2002 Julia is a reporter who is assigned an article on the roundup of Jewish families by French police.  She is shocked to find that many people living in Paris had no idea such a thing took place.  As she comes across Sarah’s story she becomes determined to find out what happened to the little girl.

This is a different angle on a topic that has been covered in numerous ways.  As the story moves between Sarah and Julia you cannot help but get immersed in finding out what happened to Sarah and her family.  Sarah’s journey is truly amazing and realistic as she is forced to face adult issues as a child.  The characters are written incredibly well in a complex, multi-faceted way.  Highly recommended for anyone who enjoys reading about this era.

The Entertainer and the Dybbuk by Sid Fleischman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Age Level: 15 and up

# of Pages: 180 p.

RAC Book: Yes

A dybbuk is a Jewish ghost or spirit. The story takes place shortly after WWII and follows an entertainer who travels around with a dummy and performs in different clubs. He is not terribly talented and many people complain about seeing his lips move. One night he returns home to find a ghost of a young boy in his closet. The boy claims to be a dybbuk who will not leave until he has finished what he came for. Despite the efforts of the man to ignore the dybbuk, he insists on inhabiting the body of the dummy which makes the entertainer’s show a great success. The man feels nervous, however, because he knows his success is directly linked to this dybbuk and he is worried that he will have to do things he does not want to do in order to please this spirit in the future.

Although the Holocaust is over in this story, the effects of it linger on in every character and location in the story. The dybbuk is a victim of the Holocaust and feels like he has some tasks to complete before he can relax in the afterlife. The book is not very long, but it is not for someone looking for a quick read because of the many serious issues that are discussed. Also, someone with a background of the Holocaust will get more out of it than someone who does not know much about this time period. This is a good story about Europe post WWII, which is a time most students probably have not read much about.

Incantation by Alice Hoffman

Genre:  Historical Fiction/Multicultural Literature

Age Level:  14 and up

# of pages:  166

RAC Book:  Yes

Estrella is living in Spain in 1500.  During this time in Spain anyone who was Jewish or converted to Christianity has the possibility of being persecuted in court.  As some neighbors of Estrella’s are taken away and she hears the charges against them she comes to the realization that she too is Jewish, but her family pretended to be Christian in order to survive. 

Once Estrella learns she is really Jewish, her entire world comes crashing down as she realizes that nothing in her world is really what she thought it was.  Her best friend betrays her when Estrella falls for the boy she had planned to marry.  She learns many secrets about her family and what they have had to do in order to ensure their secret stay hidden.  Finally, she learns that she has not even known her real name until now.

Incantation shows students that Jewish persecution did not just happen in Nazi Germany.  Jews have been persecuted for years for their beliefs and this story sheds some insight onto what it is like to have everything taken from you because of the faith you believe in.   While this story has many sad moments, it is also comforting that through it all Estrella has hope that somewhere there is a place where she could live as she is free from persecution.

 


Archives

Advertisements