‘A Sky Full of Song’
By Susan Lynn Meyer, published by Union Square Kids
Set in 1905, this breathtaking, fast-paced novel takes readers on the difficult and exciting journey from the Ukraine to the plains of North Dakota. As Shoshana’s father and brother establish a homestead, Shoshana, her sisters, and their mom face horrific antisemitism in their Ukrainian village and long to reunite with their family in America. But once they arrive, life isn’t easy for these Jewish immigrants. Living in a dugout is far from ideal. Shoshana and her eldest sister cope with bullies at school and struggle to fit in. Antisemitic beliefs are prevalent among the community and North Dakota winters present unforeseen challenges. With its “Little House on the Prairie” vibe, this beautifully written book may very well become a favorite for anyone who enjoys middle grade literature.
‘Hidden Hope: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the Holocaust’
By Elisa Boxer, illustrated by Amy June Bates, published by Abrams Books for Young Readers
This exquisite picture book tells the unforgettable story of Judith Geller, a Jewish teen who was a part of the French Resistance. Using false identification papers herself, Judith’s brave actions saved other Jewish lives by smuggling fake identity papers in toy ducks to individuals trying to escape the Nazis. The author’s and artist’s notes have lots of background information that will be of interest to people of all ages. The lyrical, touching words and detailed, emotional illustrations make this book an outstanding addition for Holocaust education while also showing Jewish courage and pride.
Educator and author Liza Wiemer, of Fox Point, has taught in nine of our Milwaukee-area Jewish religious schools and day schools. Her latest novel,“The Assignment,” is appropriate for ages 12 and up.