Book corner: Nancy Churnin and Mr. Dickens | Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Book corner: Nancy Churnin and Mr. Dickens 


For my column today, I’m sharing two outstanding picture books by the same author, Nancy Churnin. Both address two incredible women who speak up. These are timeless books appropriate for all ages and a must for anyone who has an appreciation for Jewish literature.  

“Dear Mr. Dickens,” illustrated by Bethany Stancliffe, published by Albert Whitman & Company 

Churnin shares the incredible story of Eliza Davis, who admired Charles Dickens, but not his antisemitic portrayal of a Jewish man in “Oliver Twist.” Eliza was so upset, she wrote Mr. Dickens, pouring her heart out and explaining how harmful his words were to the Jewish people. Words can transform, and this gorgeously written and illustrated picture book illuminates the importance of speaking up. It brought me to tears and it may very well do the same for you. 

“A Queen to the Rescue: The Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah,” illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, published by Creston Books 

This stunning picture book shows why this brave, strong, dedicated woman founded Hadassah, and the interesting story of why this organization was named for Queen Esther, aka Hadassah. Readers will see the impact of Szold’s work for immigrants, orphans, Jewish publications, and healthcare in Palestine as well as find themselves in awe of how one person can change the world.  

Educator and author Liza Wiemer, of Fox Point, has taught in nine of our Milwaukee Jewish religious schools and day schools. Her latest novel, “The Assignment,” is appropriate for ages 12 and up.