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The Courageous Life of Ruth Gruber

by Rona Arato ; illustrated by Isabel Muñoz

Pub Date: May 1st, 2023
ISBN: 9781728445618
Publisher: Kar-Ben

A biography of a journalist, human rights advocate, and truth teller.

Arato opens with a look at Ruth Gruber’s (1911-2016) childhood. The children of Russian Jewish immigrants, she was born in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where everyone she knew was Jewish and spoke Yiddish. At school she discovered a wider world with Irish, Polish, and Black students and teachers. She was a brilliant student, entering college at age 15, majoring in German, and later becoming the youngest person ever to earn a Ph.D. While studying in Germany, she observed the rise of Nazism and the escalating antisemitism. Back in the United Sates, she began writing for the Herald Tribune, but she knew her life’s purpose was to fight injustice with words and images. She worked on newspaper and government assignments that took her to Nazi Germany, Poland, Siberia, Alaska, and, in 1944, to Europe and back, escorting 954 mostly Jewish refugees to a camp in Oswego, New York, where she remained as their advocate and friend. She listened and wrote of their horrific experiences and fought tirelessly for them to be given permanent status after the war. This exciting, accessible narrative relates Ruth’s exploits in meticulously researched detail. Insets provide salient information, while Muñoz’s softly hued illustrations carefully highlight key events.

A moving account of an unstoppable woman.

(author’s note, photographs, glossary, source notes, timeline, selected bibliography, index) (Biography. 8-12)