Quick Pick Picture Book – The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes

After two reviews of books that had the potential to offend, here’s a completely user-friendly Hanukkah story.  The only shortcoming is that it errs on the side of too bland.  The kindness/neighborly love theme could have been set at any holiday, but happened to be set at Hanukkah.  And while the book does come equipped with a latke recipe, it does not explain any aspect of Hanukkah, not its source, not the reasons behind the traditions, nothing.

So why bother?  Because it is a genuinely sweet tale of a girl who reaches out to her neighbor.  When Rachel’s family runs short on potatoes for latkes, she dashes next door to borrow from Mrs. Greenberg.  To thank the older woman, Rachel invites her to Hanukkah, but Mrs. Greenberg declines.  This continues as Rachel needs to borrow more and more items for her family’s celebration and Mrs. Greenberg continues to stubbornly decline Rachel’s invitations.  Rachel finally figures out how to out-stubborn Mrs. Greenberg, and of course, latkes are enjoyed by all.

This is a simple and fairly quick read, which may be best enjoyed by younger children.  It’s also good for classrooms where it may be safer to focus on how family’s celebrate holidays rather than on religion.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

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Candelight for Rebecca

Well, they can’t all be winners.  It would have been nice if this were a good book, because anything American Girl is wildly popular, but I’d have to say Candelight for Rebecca was marginal at best.  There are conflicting messages about how to handle forced compliance to societal and religious norms. Sprinkled throughout are random Yiddish words to try to give this weak story some authenticity (seriously, they don’t use Rosh Hashanah and instead write Jewish New Year, but Bubbie tells her to nosh on a latke).  And of course, there’s the  scene where Rebecca’s sister says “Our friends at school say Hanukkah isn’t a very important holiday for Jews, but Christmas is the most important holiday for Christians.”  Um.  Were those people perhaps other Jews?  Reminding you that Hanukkah is a minor festival compared to the High Holy Days and Passover? Rebecca’s sisters are fourteen, it seems really unlikely that they would be at all confused about the relative importance of various Jewish holidays.

At school Rebecca and some of her Jewish friends are faced with a dilemma.  They are being made to make a Christmas centerpiece.  When one of the Jewish girls shares that she does not celebrate Christmas, the teacher dismisses this immediately saying “Christmas is a national holiday, celebrated by Americans all over the country.”  This is likely in keeping with the time period of the early twentieth century.  But while Rebecca’s friend shrugs and sort of slaps together the centerpiece, Rebecca does her absolute best.  When it’s time to bring it home, she’s filled with guilt and shame, after all, at home Rebecca is shushed for singing Jingle Bells (a Christmas song says her grandmother).  And her sisters are told to take red ribbons strung with bells out of their hair.  But no, her family is so happy for her and pleased with the centerpiece.  Although she does give it to a Christian neighbor as a gift, the message seems clear:  assimilation is best. Yick.

Like many American Girl doll books, this could be read by an advanced second grader, and certainly by a third grader.  There is a glossary in the back for the Yiddish words.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – A cat has kittens.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

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Quick Pick Picture Book- The Latke Who Wouldn’t Stop Screaming

You would scream too, wouldn’t you, if you were dropped in sizzling oil to be fried?  If everywhere you went others refused to understand you?  If you felt as if you didn’t have a proper home?  If someone was prepared to eat you?

I adored this Hanukkah story.  Don’t be fooled by Lemony Snicket’s subtitle A Christmas Story, this one is not really about Christmas. As the latke runs screaming from the pan, he runs into various Christmas symbols and is misunderstood by each.  Each time, he further explains the reasons for various Hanukkah traditions and the origin of the holiday itself and each time the Christmas symbols try to make sense of what he’s saying within their own framework for understanding (which for most is a Christian framework, although the Christmas tree does allude to his pagan roots).  The result is a book where you can see an array of Christian responses to this Judiasm, although I have to say that all fall short of understanding.

At the beginning, Snicket notes that the cottage which is not decorated for Christmas is viewed with suspicion.  The Christmas lights dismiss the latke as nothing but hash browns.  The candy cane although he begins more rudely than the other Christmas items, it finishes its interaction with the latke by trying to make a connection between the Jews who hid their religion in 175 BC and Joseph and Mary being excluded and hiding in the stable.  The Christmas tree tries to reach out by pointing out that many holiday traditions have commonalities, but the latke has reached his frustration point and does not want to start a discussion (although for those interested, that would be a great discussion).  Finally the latke is found by his own people, and even though it results in his demise (latkes are meant for eating after all), he does get to feel a sense of belonging.

There’s no question that this is written from a Jewish perspective, and that there are some Christians who will read offense into this book.  But there are those who refuse to understand what it is to be a minority (whether it be due to religion, race or sexual orientation) and there are those who try to understand albeit clumsily.  Snicket’s latke is really looking for two things, a sense of belonging, and for others to listen and acknowledge his otherness, his own separate identity.

In allowing himself the freedom to animate a latke, Snicket claims that this is a Christmas story where things can happen that would never happen in real life.  This could be read several ways.  I think it’s pretty clear that Snicket is not taking aim at Christianity itself, but more likely at Christmas tradtions and folklore which openly employ magic (Santa, elves, flying reindeer, animated snowmen).  How you take this is up to you.  If you like, you can take it as condemnation of Christmas mythology, or you can take it as an acknowledgment that Christmas is a time of magic.

This is not a book to use if you want a book that covers both Christmas and Hanukkah traditions, unless you’re dealing with older children (maybe teens or tweens) and want to incorporate literary analysis and religious discussion.  If you want a book about the two holidays and friendship between Jews and Christians, please just get The Trees of the Dancing Goats.

The vocabulary is quite difficult and there is much subtlety in Snicket’s message which will be lost on littler children.  But the smaller ones might enjoy it just for the screaming bits.  Tougher words include “arrondissement” which Snicket defines as “a place where something is being born” but which usually is a French designation for an administrative division – similar to a district in US terms. Also: suspicion, ruckus, Antiochus (pronounced An-tie-uh-cuss) for those of us lacking in biblical or historical background, rededicate, unabated, commemorate.

Necessary words pertaining to Hanukkah:
latke pronounced lot’-kuh – a potato pancake
dreidel pronounced dray’-dull – for more info see here.
menorah pronounced muh-nor’-ah – most people use this term to refer to the holder of the 9 candles lit to celebrate Hanukkah, but a more thorough explanation is here. Technically a menorah is any candelabra/candle holder whereas one used specifically for Hanukkah would be a hanukkiyah.
hanukkiyah pronounced hahn-new-kee-uh – a Hanukkah menorah.
Maccabees pronounced mack’-uh-bees – the Jewish rebel army that was victorious against the Syrians.
Torah – pronounced Tore’-uh – Jewish scripture, for a more detailed explanation see here.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – We are informed that latkes are not conceived and born the same way that we are conceived and born.  You best believe I talked super quickly whilst reading that aloud to my class.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – The latke is put into very hot oil.  The latke is eaten.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

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Quick Pick Picture Book – The Trees of the Dancing Goats

This is a fabulous story for the winter holidays. Patricia Polacco has written The Trees of the Dancing Goats about her own experiences growing up on her grandparent’s farm.  One winter, while her family is making their preparations for Chanukkah, scarlet fever strikes many families in their area.  Worried that their friends and neighbors will have to make do without Christmas, Trisha’s family sets to work to save the day.

Great for: This book is great for helping children understand how they can support friends who have different religious beliefs without compromising their own.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – There is a brief reference to the Jewish farmers fighting the Syrian army.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – There is a scarlet fever epidemic in the area where they live.  Trisha worries that she will get sick.

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Quick Pick Picture Book – The Chanukkah Guest

Eric Kimmel’s The Chanukkah Guest is one of my favorite Chanukkah stories.  97 year old Bubba Brayna has been cooking her famous latkes.  The smell is so tantalizing that it wakes a hibernating bear.  The old woman has become a bit (fine, a lot) blind and deaf in her old age, and mistakes the bear for the rabbi.  They play dreidel, the bear devours the latkes and in the end, walks off with the scarf intended as the rabbi’s Chanukah present.  When her guests do arrive, Bubba Brayna learns the truth – that she has been entertaining a bear!  The story is funny, the bear is adorably growly and my favorite moment has to be when she clutches the bear’s fur in an effort to remove his coat.

Great for: All elementary age students.  Although this does tell a little about the religious significance of Chanukkah, the focus is on traditions and how people celebrate and for that reason should be acceptable for use in schools.  I know my students have loved having it read aloud!

Sex, Nudity, Dating –  At one point the bear drops his head in the old woman’s lap.  When he goes to leave, he licks her face.  She says “Oh rabbi!  And at my age!”  Some may be uncomfortable with the implications, but I can’t imagine children would read anything sexual into it.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – Unless having a bear in for latkes is scary, there is nothing to frighten little ones.

Posted in Middle Grades, Primary Grades | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Happy Holidays!

It seems like the minute you wrap up the Thanksgiving leftovers, the winter holiday season begins.  For those who celebrate Hanukkah, there’s barely even time to take a breath before frying off the latkes, since it falls early this year (December 2nd).  In honor of the holiday, I’ll be sharing some Hanukkah picture books, including the one I just gave to my adorable niece for her very first Hanukkah.

Between These Pages will also help you prepare for the inevitable onslaught of Nutcracker love, by previewing some of the available book versions so that you know what to look for when your little one keeps asking for more.

And of course, I’ll try my best to steer you to some good holiday shopping choices.  I know I can’t resist the fun of picking out a book, so I’ll help you find ones that fit for the children on your shopping list.

Happy Holidays!

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Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising is the story of a girl who loses everything, her father, her home, her life of luxury and her dreams of the future.  When tragedy strikes, Esperanza and her mother find that their only hope is to leave Mexico and try to start over as farm workers in California.  In addition to learning how to do basic daily tasks that had always been done by her servants, Esperanza must learn to stand on her own two feet.  Set at the time of the Great Depression Esperanza Rising takes on issues of discrimination and prejudice, the beginnings of striking and unionization of workers and the terrifying sweeps done by Immigration which sent millions back to Mexico, many of whom were in the US legally or even held US citizenship.

While it contains much sadness and hope, the real thing pushing up the reading level is the discussion of strikes and Immigration raids.  Without any background knowledge some readers may struggle to make sense of Esperanza’s world.  The book contains much for discussion whether in a classroom setting or with family.  I would recommend this for Grade 6 and up.  Also a bonus – despite having a reading level that could be handled by sixth graders, the content in this book requires enough critical thinking that it could be used with high school students who were reading below grade level.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – After Esperanza’s father’s death, his brother proposes to Esperanza’s mother.   Miguel takes Esperanza’s hand.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Esperanza’s father is murdered.  On a train ride, Esperanza notices crosses and flowers near the tracks and wonders if they are marking where other girls’ fathers had died. Esperanza meets a girl whose father died in the Mexican revolution fighting against rich landowners.  When there is the threat of strike the company arms their men with guns.  Strikers throw rocks at laborers who will not strike.  The strikers hide snakes, rats and razor blades in produce crates to slow down or deter the people who are still working.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – Esperanza’s home is burned and they all must escape the fire. Esperanza’s mother becomes very ill.

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First Crossing: Stories about Teen Immigration (Part 2)

First Crossing is a collection of stories.  Because I found it best to review each story separately, this is the second day of coverage for this title.  The first 5 stories can be found here. Whether you’re reading it straight through or pulling stories to read with your class, this has a lot to offer.

Lines of Scrimmage by Elsa Marston

This story is definitely showing the darker side of the immigrant experience.  Ameen and his family are Palestinian and left their homeland when he was only five.  He has recently moved to Arizona and earned a place as a quarterback.  But Arizona is very different from where they last lived (Detroit) and there are no longer any other Arab students.  Ameen faces racial slurs from his opponents and a lack of support from his teammates that amounts to sabotage.  Marston has set her story in post 9/11 America, so in addition to Ameen’s family feeling frustration with the question of US support for Israel over Palestine, they also have to deal with general anti-Arab sentiments.  There is a nice connection drawn between the Israelis and Palestinians and Americans and Navajos.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – “Hell”. Also racist slurs: “Ay-rab,” “rag-head,” “camel-jockey,” “sand n*gger.”
Death, Violence and Gore – There is football related violence of being sacked too hard and hit too hard.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – Ameen’s dad drinks beer with dinner.  The quarterback of the football team totaled his car in a drunk-driving accident.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

The Swede by Alden R. Carter

Now we’re absolutely getting to serious and negative scenarios for immigrants.  When a Swedish company takes over an American mill, Per-Erik and his family relocate from Sweden to Green Bay.  But despite his friendly overtures the boys at his high school see him as an embodiment of everything they hate.  When the Swedish management lays off large numbers of union workers, things become a living hell for Per-Erik as he is targeted with more and more severe bullying.  Told from the perspective of a local, rather than the immigrant, this is a vital story about being a bystander, going along to get along and how not being true to yourself can make you wonder who you really are.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – A girl calls Per-Erik a hunk and asks to be introduced to him.
Profanity
Death, Violence and Gore – Per-Erik is pushed into the lockers. The teens talk about how domestic violence has increased after the layoffs.  There is some gore in descriptions of a dead deer that is used in a “prank.”
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – A few guys are drinking while setting up a prank. Drinking may have caused increased violence.  They joke about their fathers coming home drunk.
Frightening or Intense Things – This is a pretty dark story.  Although there is not much personal physical violence done to Per-Erik, the nasty things the boys do to his car and the anger being their actions bring both intensity and intimidation to this story.

The Rose of Sharon by Marie G. Lee

Absolutely my least favorite story in the book. Sarah was adopted from Korea and desperately wants to know about her birth family.  She views her adopted family with disgust (doesn’t even call them mom and dad).  For their part, they pretend as though she’s not Korean at all.  When Sarah has the opportunity to meet up with another Korean adoptee who has met her birth family she learns that the other girl’s birth family was money grubbing and basically the Korean equivalent of poor white trash.  I’m not saying adoption is easy and that the path to balancing your heritage and your adoptive family is easy.  But in this story everyone got everything wrong.  It just felt off.  As if the message was “your adoptive family sucks, but your birth family sucks more, so forget about your heritage and put up with the suckiness you know.”  I’d love to have someone who has experience dealing with cross-cultural adoption read this story and share their opinion.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Really weird and unnecessary metaphor that Korean orphans converged on a restaurant like sperm to an egg.
Profanity – “bullshit,” “fucking,” “shit,”
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – Soo Mi orders a beer. Soo Mi’s brother smokes.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

Make Maddie Mad by Rita Williams-Garcia

This was a great story of two girls with Haitian backgrounds who are defining themselves in very different ways.  While Martine embraces her language and her heritage and mostly stays in circles where she can be around her Creole speaking friends, Madeline is intent on defining herself as a Black American.  So often the majority race/culture does not bother to see the differences in cultures within another group.  So many from the outside would simply call both of these girls black.  But this difference in identity and community is one that will really speak to readers who have experienced this, and would be a great piece for classroom discussion.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – The Haitian soccer team gets a bit grabby with the waitresses.  Martine talks about how the waitress set things up to limit opportunities for physical contact.  The soccer captain tells the waitress he wants juice from her titty.
Profanity – “bitch.”   One of the girls says in Creole “Ou se yon kochon! Manman-ou se yon kochon! Papa-ou se yon kochon!” The english translation is just you’re a pig, your mother’s a pig, your father is a pig, but I have no idea if that’s the implication in Creole or if it is a stronger curse.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

The Green Armchair by Minfong Ho

Sopeap and her family have fled Cambodia.  She struggles with English and her memories about leaving her home and her grandmother.  Sopeap develops a closer friendship with a boy from school when he brings his grandfather’s chair to be fixed by her father’s upholstery business.  He helps her remember how to keep family close even when they cannot be with you.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Sopeap seems to like Tom and he takes her hand at one point.
Profanity“damn,”
Death, Violence and Gore – Part of the story is about dealing with the loss of a grandparent.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – The book speaks very little of what happened in Cambodia to cause Sopeap’s family to leave, but it is clear that Sopeap is blocking memories that are too painful.

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First Crossing: Stories about Teen Immigrants (Part 1)

First Crossing is an anthology of short stories about immigration, which includes works by some fabulous authors.  I’m going to do the content ratings separately by story since many teachers pull individual pieces for class.  I’ll be covering the volume in two parts, 5 stories today, 5 next time.

Great for: Modern immigration stories.  So many immigration stories are historical fiction. It is easy for children to look at the immigrant experience through the lense of history and decide what was fair and unfair.  It is another thing entirely to have them discuss more current issues like illegal border crossing from Mexico.  This is also fabulous because of the range of countries represented.  I felt like for a long time I could only get my hands on stories about Russian Jewish immigrants or good old English settler types.  While a greater variety of stories are more available now, it’s rare to see so many covered so well.

First Crossing by Pam Munoz Ryan

Recognize the author?  She’s written the incredible book Esperanza Rising about the Mexican immigrant experience.  This story is aimed at slightly older children and handles the very controversial topic of illegal immigration from Mexico and border crossings.  First Crossing is also fascinating to me because while the men in the story are clearly working in the US, for many the goal is not citizenship, they simply want a better life for their families in Mexico, and must earn US dollars to have that.  Like many books about immigration this does contain foreign words (Spanish in this case).  Ryan does a decent job of providing sufficient context for understanding.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – After his first crossing Mario says he feels like he’s been molested, but he is not speaking of any sexual contact.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Marco remembers stories he’s heard of immigrants dying during the border crossing, in particular of 17 Mexicans that were killed in a truck accident.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – Marco waits in front of a liquor store.  Once he thinks of drinking beer.
Frightening or Intense Things – There is a great deal of danger for Mario, but as this book is aimed at older children nothing should be too nerve-wracking for them unless you are in a place where children may be personally familiar with this type of experience.

Second Culture Kids by Dian Curtis Regan

Second Culture Kids begins in Venezuela as Chavez is trying to hold control of the government.  There is fighting between different factions, those that want Chavez out and those that support him.  Venezuelans are caught in the middle, but Amina’s stepfather works for an American oil company and American’s are even more likely to be targeted in the violence.  Uprooted and sent to Texas, Amina misses her whole life, especially her grandparents and her boyfriend. My only real criticism of this one is that sometimes Regan uses somewhat broken English as though she’s writing in Amina’s voice, and sometimes she does not.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Amina misses her boyfriend and has love notes from him and thinks of kissing him.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Amina’s father died on a fishing boat during a storm.  There are deaths in Venezuela due to the fighting
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – Mostly it is just sad reading about people leaving their homes without their belongings and pets.

My Favorite Chaperone – by Jean Davies Okimoto

Oh how I loved this one.  Maya and her family have come from Kazakhstan.  Maya is dying for normal teenage things, like being able to go to a dance and dance with a boy, but it is not considered appropriate in her culture.  She also is incredibly aware of how other students’ cultures affect perception and when she is called to the principal’s office (to deal with the problem of her brother fighting), she recalls how a student who came from Cambodia was filled with real fear after being sent.  While the other children laughed, Maya understands that fear and danger are very different for immigrants from some countries.  This story is especially strong in showing how children take on or share the family burden.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Maya hugs a boy and dances with a boy.  Maya’s aunt is a mail order bride.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Maya’s brother fights with another boy and the other boy needs stitches.  Maya is lecturing her brother while making dinner and waving a knife around.  He tells her to watch the knife and she says she wasn’t going to stab him.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

They Don’t Mean It – by Lensey Namioka

Aimed at and appropriate for a slightly younger audience, this story mainly addresses the culture differences in communication styles.  Namioka has written many books about the Chinese-American experience.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – None.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – None.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

Pulling Up Stakes by David Labar

If you’re trying to sell immigration stories to the Twilight crowd, this is your in.  Adrian’s family moves to the Unites States because his uncle promised his father work in Arkansas.  Except that by Arkansas he meant Alaska.  And well, the work wasn’t that easy to find.  But Adrian’s main problem is stemming from the fact that his classmates learn he’s from Romania, and like any vampire crazed teenagers living in the bizarre full-day darkness of Alaska, they start to wonder if they have a real live vampire on their hands.  I couldn’t tell if I felt worse for Adrian because they kept checking to see if he was a vampire, or for the other kids who were kinda really thinking maybe he was. In the end, I decided it was all sweetly awkward and not cringeworthy.

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Adrian notices a pretty girl.  Later he kisses a girl and thinks of kissing her everywhere.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Adrian’s father says he’s going to kill Ian when he finds out they are in Alaska and there is no job.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – None.
Frightening or Intense Things – None.

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Letters From Rifka

Okay, I’m going to admit to you that I was teary at the end of this one.  It ends well, but the story is quite touching.  Rifka and her family flee their home in the Ukraine under the cover of night.  Her brother has deserted the army and they all fear for their lives.  They journey to Poland and from there plan on taking a boat to America.  However, Rifka has contracted ringworm and the shipping company will not let her sail.  Her family leaves her behind and she must make her own way.

Despite being fairly familiar with the flight of Jews from Russia, I did not know anything about the HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, a group that aids Rifka once her parents are gone.  With their help she has a place to stay in Belgium and treatment for her ringworm.

This book is a fourth or fifth grade reading level, although it could be mastered by very strong third grade readers, particularly those with some knowledge of Jewish culture.  While there is death and violence, it is written about in an age appropriate way.

This immigration story is clear about why they leave Russia and has a great deal of detail about the trip to the United States, but like Dragon’s Child, it ends upon admittance to the United States.

There are some vocabulary words that may be difficult for those unfamiliar with Judiasm:
tallisa Jewish prayer shawl
mitzvah – In the book, Rifka is using mitzvah to refer to her brothers becoming bar mitzvot. This means that they have reached adulthood according to Jewish law. This takes place at age 13.
davening – praying
pogrom – these were violent attacks by non-Jews on Jewish communities (source).

Great for: Teachers, if you’re doing Molly’s Pilgrim with one of your reading groups, this would be a possibility for one of your highest groups.  It might be valuable to compare the small amount of information we get about why Molly left Russia with the incredible detail we have about Rivka.  Students can also use their knowledge of Molly’s Pilgrim to help students reading Letters from Rivka to understand what life might be life for Rivka in America.

 

Sex, Nudity, Dating – Rifka and her family are forced to strip to  for inspection at the Polish border.  The doctors spends perhaps too long examining Rifka’s mother. At age thirteen Rifka is kissed by a seventeen year old boy.
Profanity – None.
Death, Violence and Gore – Rifka knows that if her brother is caught as a Jewish deserter from the Russian army he will be killed as an example to others.  Her father is whipped for disobedience. Rifka is told she will be killed if she returns to her home in Russia. Soldier shot and killed her uncle. Rifka recalls pogroms when peasants burned their shops and came to murder Jewish people. A sailor that Rifka knows is lost overboard in a storm.
Drugs, Alcohol and Smoking – A doctor smells of schnapps.
Frightening or Intense Things –Rifka contracts typhus and the person who examines her says she is likely to die. In her nightmares she claws herself until she bleeds. Other typhus sufferers die. The ship is in a storm. Rifka is detained at Ellis Island. Rifka cares for a sick baby there and the baby also dies.

Posted in Middle Grades | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment