Books by Jeff Gottesfeld

THE TREE IN THE COURTYARD by Jeff Gottesfeld
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 8, 2016

"Anne Frank has been memorialized properly—elsewhere. (afterword) (Informational picture book. 8-11)"
Nature watches as humans wage war. Read full book review >
ROBINSON'S HOOD by Jeff Gottesfeld
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 1, 2013

"Misses the mark almost completely. (Fiction. 10-14)"
The first in a planned series is slight in length as well as in concept. Read full book review >
A HEART DIVIDED by Cherie Bennett
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: March 9, 2004

Kate Pride's liberal-minded mother wants her to be a Woman of Purpose, and Kate longs to be like the cool, pierced girls in the magazines who "looked as if they did drugs and had sex even if they didn't." But she has an epiphany at a performance of The Crucible, falls in love with playwriting, and moves to Tennessee, where the lessons learned from The Crucible inform her way of surviving a new high school. The authors get the details of small-town Tennessee life right—meat-and-three restaurants, waitresses who call you "honey," fruit tea, heat and humidity, and statues of Confederate soldiers. It's the Confederate flag—the "racist flag," as Kate calls it—that becomes the contentious issue at her new high school, and Kate is the Yankee outsider in the midst of controversy. The novel, which includes a script of the play Kate writes about the flag issue, would make a fine one-two punch with Arthur Miller's play in a high-school classroom. (afterword) (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
ANNE FRANK AND ME by Cherie Bennet
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2001

In this example of history- and literature-lite, teens are given a rather heavy-handed lesson about the evils of the Holocaust. Nicole Burns is a typical 16-year-old who undergoes a life-changing experience after a riot breaks out at the local museum where her class has gone to see an "Anne Frank in the World" exhibit. Nicole is knocked unconscious and wakes up to find herself in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1942, now part of a Jewish family and therefore subject to the increasingly Draconian laws against Jews. While in hiding, Nicole and her family are betrayed by a close friend and Nicole ends up on one of the cattle cars traveling east to the concentration camps. On the crowded train, she meets someone who seems eerily familiar, a girl whom she soon recognizes as Anne Frank. Memories stir in Nicole and details about Anne's final years—details that she remembers from her 21st-century life—rush into her mind. Nicole ends up in the gas chamber where, on the point of death, she finds herself back in 21st-century America soon becoming convinced that her experiences were real. What Nicole can remember from one era to another is often confusing and inconsistent. Sometimes French Nicole remembers the future, as when Anne Frank makes her appearance, but other times she seems not to know what the outcome of the Holocaust (and therefore her probable fate) will be. Although admirable in its intent to make the Holocaust relevant to today's adolescents, the story is overly obvious, pounding the reader over the head with its message. It is difficult to imagine this on stage (its roots are in the theater) because the dialogue is so trite and forced. But there may be an audience for it among reluctant teen readers who can relate to these airheads. For a much better time-travel novel involving the Holocaust, stick with Jane Yolen's The Devil's Arithmetic. (timeline) (Fiction. 11-16)Read full book review >