A historical novel for young readers about a girl during Israel’s Six Day War.
Like Mira, the novel’s protagonist, Breen (There’s a Turkey at the Door?, 2011) was a fifth grader in Israel during the Six Day War in 1967. As Breen explains in her author’s note, her own experiences and research were used in writing Mira’s story. With her country on the brink of war, Mira is concerned with ordinary things like homework and the loyalty of her best friend, Gili. Mira has bigger concerns, too. Her father left, and she doesn’t know when or if he will return to live with her and her mother. Mira and Gili defy their parents’ orders and listen to a propaganda radio station that broadcasts out of Cairo. The Voice of Thunder station lends its name to the title of the book and unnerves the two girls with its endless threats. When bombs begin to fall in Israel, the girls must make a harrowing escape from school. Later, after they’ve made it home, they take shelter in the basement with the rest of the residents of their apartment building. There, several days later, they learn via the radio of the reopening of the Western Wall to the people of Israel; on the following Sabbath, Miri and Gili travel to the wall with Gili’s parents and Mira’s father. Breen adeptly juxtaposes the ordinary events of day-to-day life with the more dramatic events of a country on the brink of—and later entering—war. Told in the third person, the novel follows Miri’s story from a somewhat distant remove, though her occasional diary entries help show her own perspective. The language is suitable for elementary school readers, with unfamiliar terms and Hebrew words defined within the text. Though the narrative often attempts to give the dialogue a natural feel, sometimes the efforts to mimic human speech make for awkward reading; for instance, Mira says, “You can’t save—fix the whole world,” and later, she asks, “Just wondering how come, well—why didn’t you ask that there be no war?”
The readable style capably delivers a history lesson likely unfamiliar to young readers.