Sunday school teachers may find this useful to supplement their students’ knowledge of the Reformation.

MARTIN LUTHER

"HERE I STAND…"

The story of the 16th-century German monk and the start of the Protestant Reformation.

Martin Luther’s life and work are presented as the origin of the modern social justice movement. Archival portraits, maps, and documents on glossy pages play a prominent role in this attractive book. Some design elements are problematic, however. A decorative initial “F” is easily mistaken for an “E,” making the line “Fast. Pray. Work” one that’s easy to stumble over: is it “East. Pray. Work”? “Eat. Pray. Work”? Short sentences and simple narrative suggest a young audience, yet the vocabulary—theology, heresy, edict, recant—assumes a working knowledge of church history, implying an older audience. Some clunky phrasing (possibly due to the translation) could lead to misinterpretation: of Lutheranism’s spread around the world, Elschner states that “as ships reached the coast of North America emigrants founded the first communities, many with Protestant churches.” A transition from Luther’s life to contemporary times is achieved somewhat awkwardly by equating Luther’s posting of his 95 theses with Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, notwithstanding the possibly greater influence of Gandhi on King’s activism. Perhaps in an effort to make the Reformation feel relevant to modern readers, this biography opens with the words “Here is where it all began” and ends with “The name of Martin Luther lives on, now doubled, and continues to travel across borders.”

Sunday school teachers may find this useful to supplement their students’ knowledge of the Reformation. (Biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-988-8341-34-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minedition

Review Posted Online: Sept. 5, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2016

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.

THE LANGUAGE OF ANGELS

A STORY ABOUT THE REINVENTION OF HEBREW

The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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A well-told Bible story of a strong, determined, persistent woman that will resonate with modern young readers.

ESTHER DIDN'T DREAM OF BEING QUEEN

An orphaned Jewish girl becomes the renowned Queen Esther.

Esther is living a quiet life in the care of her cousin Mordecai when the king orders “all pretty young women” to report to the palace to be considered as a new queen. For three years she manages to avoid submitting to the edict. Eventually forced to comply, and with a warning from Mordecai to keep her religion a secret, she finds herself among a crowd of women vying to be the king’s choice. She remains true to herself, surreptitiously keeping Shabbat and wearing her old clothes. The king chooses her, perhaps in part for her strength of character, which she continues to display as queen. The king’s adviser, Haman, the villain of the story, intends to attack all the Jews, and it is Esther’s courageous plan that saves her people. Of course a celebration follows, still enjoyed today as Purim. Esther narrates her own tale, speaking directly to readers in a conversational tone, vividly describing her emotions and reactions as events unfold. Throughout her tale she alludes to similarities with “Cinderella,” but she emphasizes that her story “is not a fairy tale.” Belloni’s brightly hued, highly detailed animation-inflected illustrations creatively depict biblical-era Middle Eastern setting and dress. All characters are appropriately light-brown–skinned with dark hair.

A well-told Bible story of a strong, determined, persistent woman that will resonate with modern young readers. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68115-561-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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