Plus a giveaway!
My family is very interested in Jewish history. After all, as believers we have been grafted into the tree that is Israel (Romans 11:17). Some might consider our family unconventional. We have chosen to celebrate and observe the Feasts of Israel in lieu of Christmas and Easter. We use and teach the Jewish names for God and Jesus in our home as well, preferring the terms Elohim, Yahweh, and Yeshua. This is a personal choice and has nothing to do with Salvation, of course. I am merely explaining our desire to soak up Jewish history in order give you a little background as to why I chose to review the book featured in this post. I am straying from my more traditional reviews of Inspirational Fiction and will be addressing a difficult, though relevant, subject.
Anna Olswanger’s Greenhorn is a short story about a young Holocaust survivor who arrives at a Yeshiva (Jewish School) in New York. The year is 1946. The war is over, but for many, the terror of that time still haunts them. In Greenhorn, Anna addresses the more common issues that children deal with everyday, such as bullying and faithful friendship. Dig a bit deeper, though, and you will find a Jewish history lesson that may just shock you. Why does Daniel carry around his little box all day? Can he overcome the heartbreak from his past and find a future in his new found friendship with Aaron?
What I liked…
I thought the strong themes of friendship and bullying were very relevant to our society today. With social media outlets, kids have more opportunities to name call, bully, and gossip, and a lot of the time without their parents ever knowing about it. Sticking up for a buddy, no matter how difficult or unpopular, can be a true test of friendship. Anna’s characters are real, and though set in a different time period, they mirror actions and behaviors that kids still have today.
Regarding the more difficult subject of the Holocaust, I felt Anna approached it delicately and tastefully. It is definitely hard to swallow, knowing the torcher that the Jews endured, but Anna does a fine job of relating historical information without being gruesome or grotesque. I believe it is important for Christians especially to have an understanding of the tribulation the nation of Israel has faced throughout history. Sometimes I think we can become desensitized in our culture today and not realize the suffering others are enduring for the sake of Christ Yeshua throughout the world. I enjoyed Greenhorn because it reminded me of just how good I truly have it , and it encouraged me to remember and think on the price others have paid just for being the people of Elohim.
I believe Greenhorn to be an excellent resource for homeschooling parents wishing to teach their children about the Holocaust. I would recommend it for children ages 8 and up, but would advise parents to use their own discretion regarding their children’s maturity levels. It is an easy read, full of illustrations that really pull you into the story and help you become immersed in Daniel and Aaron’s world. Greenhorn touched me deeply, and I am positive it will do the same for anyone who takes the time to pick up this profound book.
About the Author…
Anna Olswanger is also the author of Shlemiel Crooks (NewSouth Books), a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book. In 2010
a family musical based on Shlemiel Crooks premiered at Lincoln Center’s Merkin Hall in New York. Anna lives in the metropolitan
New York area and is a literary agent with Liza Dawson Associates. Anna’s website is www.olswanger.com. You can also connect with her on Twitter.
I have been given the privilege of offering a copy of Greenhorn to one of you, my faithful readers. Just comment with your answer to the following question:
Have you ever approached the subject of the Holocaust with your children? What tools or resources have you used to teach them about this delicate subject?
Enter today through Friday, May 31st using the Rafflecopter below. I will choose and email a winner on Saturday, June 1st.
Until then, Happy Reading!
Yours in Christ Yeshua,
I received a digital copy of Greenhorn for review from the author. I was not asked to write a positive review. All views and opinions expressed are solely and completely my own. I received no compensation other than a digital copy of the book featured in this post, which is mine to keep. This post also contains affiliate links. To learn more, please read my full policy.
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