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IN THE PROMISED LAND by Doreen Rappaport


Lives of Jewish Americans

by Doreen Rappaport & illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

Age Range: 7 - 9

Pub Date: March 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-688-17150-8
Publisher: HarperCollins

These one-page sketches of 13 Jewish-American figures attempt to serve as an introduction to the one “defining moment” that shaped their lives or professions. Using information taken from books, articles, personal accounts, diaries, journals and interviews, Rappaport recreates, with some drama and undocumented dialogue, momentary accomplishments or significant episodes. While some of her portrayals work well to capture the nuance of the influential event, others are not as obvious. For example, she tells clearly of Asser Levy’s fight against anti-Semitism in colonial New Amsterdam, Ernestine Rose’s participation in the suffrage movement and Jacob W. Davis’s invention of the use of copper rivets on miners’ pants leading to the famous Levi Strauss jeans. But at the same time it’s not obvious as to what Houdini or photographer Solomon Nunes Carvalho’s defining moments really are. Even the last description for Steven Spielberg is a bit muddled, ending with his foremost deed of establishing the “Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation.” While many of these figures deserve a broader approach than these snippets, this collection may at least spark some interest for further reading. (sources, bibliography, Web sites) (Nonfiction. 7-9)