Evocative, inspiring, and uplifting.

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REGINA PERSISTED

Regina Jonas was determined to become a rabbi, but she faced nearly insurmountable opposition.

While other girls played house, she played rabbi, pretending to read Torah to her toy animals. She took every opportunity to learn, studying first with her father and then with the rabbi of her synagogue. She kept on studying, but at the last moment she was prevented from taking the examination that would allow her to achieve her goal. At every step she was cautioned to concentrate on domestic skills or told to stop causing trouble. As a schoolteacher, she taught Jewish girls about Miriam, Esther, and Deborah, strong Jewish women in the Bible, and never gave up on her dream, although she continued to be denied the opportunity to take the needed tests. But her impact on the Jewish community was recognized, and in 1935 she finally succeeded in becoming a rabbi, the first woman rabbi in the world. All of this took place in Berlin, where life for Jews was becoming more and more restricted and then impossible. Sasso, a rabbi herself, tells Regina’s story with great admiration and compassion. In an afterword readers are told of Regina’s deportation to Theresienstadt and then her death at Auschwitz. Lucas’ sepia and soft earth tones beautifully capture Regina’s strength in her facial expressions and body language as well as the time period and setting.

Evocative, inspiring, and uplifting.   (author’s note, note to readers, photograph) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68115-540-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

ARE YOU THERE GOD? IT'S ME, MARGARET.

The comical longings of little girls who want to be big girls—exercising to the chant of "We must—we must—increase our bust!"—and the wistful longing of Margaret, who talks comfortably to God, for a religion, come together as her anxiety to be normal, which is natural enough in sixth grade.

And if that's what we want to tell kids, this is a fresh, unclinical case in point: Mrs. Blume (Iggie's House, 1969) has an easy way with words and some choice ones when the occasion arises. But there's danger in the preoccupation with the physical signs of puberty—with growing into a Playboy centerfold, the goal here, though the one girl in the class who's on her way rues it; and with menstruating sooner rather than later —calming Margaret, her mother says she was a late one, but the happy ending is the first drop of blood: the effect is to confirm common anxieties instead of allaying them. (And countertrends notwithstanding, much is made of that first bra, that first dab of lipstick.) More promising is Margaret's pursuit of religion: to decide for herself (earlier than her 'liberal' parents intended), she goes to temple with a grandmother, to church with a friend; but neither makes any sense to her—"Twelve is very late to learn." Fortunately, after a disillusioning sectarian dispute, she resumes talking to God…to thank him for that telltale sign of womanhood.

Which raises the last question: of a satirical stance in lieu of a perspective.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1970

ISBN: 978-1-4814-1397-8

Page Count: 157

Publisher: Bradbury

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 1970

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A beautifully rendered setting enfolds a disappointing plot.

A GALAXY OF SEA STARS

In sixth grade, Izzy Mancini’s cozy, loving world falls apart.

She and her family have moved out of the cottage she grew up in. Her mother has spent the summer on Block Island instead of at home with Izzy. Her father has recently returned from military service in Afghanistan partially paralyzed and traumatized. The only people she can count on are Zelda and Piper, her best friends since kindergarten—that is, until the Haidary family moves into the upstairs apartment. At first, Izzy resents the new guests from Afghanistan even though she knows she should be grateful that Dr. Haidary saved her father’s life. But despite her initial resistance (which manifests at times as racism), as Izzy gets to know Sitara, the Haidarys’ daughter, she starts to question whether Zelda and Piper really are her friends for forever—and whether she has the courage to stand up for Sitara against the people she loves. Ferruolo weaves a rich setting, fully immersing readers in the largely white, coastal town of Seabury, Rhode Island. Disappointingly, the story resolves when Izzy convinces her classmates to accept Sitara by revealing the Haidarys’ past as American allies, a position that put them in so much danger that they had to leave home. The idea that Sitara should be embraced only because her family supported America, rather than simply because she is a human being, significantly undermines the purported message of tolerance for all.

A beautifully rendered setting enfolds a disappointing plot. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-374-30909-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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