The hardship many Ethiopian Jews faced to successfully reach Israel is recounted in the voice of a 5-year-old girl who escapes with her grandmother, determined to reach their destination.
Yuvi’s trip begins on a donkey at night with her grandmother’s strong religious conviction that angels will help them join mother and baby brother in their real home. “We are going to Jerusalem. We have angels with us. We’ll fly home.” The long, arduous and dangerous journey is made bearable through role-playing familiar family Shabbat rituals. Several encounters with robbers take almost all their money, except for the small amount Yuvi cleverly hides within her hair curls. Starved and parched from the endless days and nights of traveling, mostly on foot, Grandmother’s new promise of unlimited candy, clothes, games and bread is a wonder to Yuvi. Finally when they reach Jerusalem aboard a big plane, Yuvi sees her first orange tree and learns that after picking and eating one, so juicy and sweet, another will grow back—the candy tree she imagined. Large, mostly double-page paintings in soft yellow, tan and blue hues on a textured canvas reflect the intrigue, emotion and difficulty of the journey.
Uncomplicated language expressed in a direct and honest voice plus vibrant illustrations make Israel’s Operation Moses easily accessible for early-elementary children. (afterword) (Picture book. 5-8)