Know of any good YA Jewish fiction books?

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Know of any good YA Jewish fiction books?

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feb. 15, 2009, 8:26pm

I've read Room In The Heart by Sonia Levitin about a girl and her Jewish family. They had to leave Denmark because of the occupation of the Nazis. I like this type of historical setting. Does anyone know of any other YA fiction books set in this era?

feb. 15, 2009, 10:19pm

Others will probably know some better ones, but...

As for YA in the era my first thought is The Book Thief by Mark Zusak. The family isn't Jewish, but the man they take in is.

The other YA ones I thought of were more current, but in Israel. Freefall by Anna Levine and at least the first (I've only read one) in the How to Ruin a Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles.

For J books: (I haven't read a lot of J...)
Boy in the Striped Pajamas
Number the Stars

I hope that helps a little!

feb. 15, 2009, 10:21pm

another good book by Sonia Levitin is Strange Relations about a girl who goes to live for the summer with her ultra-orthodox/chasidic aunt and her family in hawaii.

feb. 15, 2009, 10:50pm

The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

feb. 16, 2009, 2:41am

I really like The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen.

feb. 16, 2009, 2:43pm

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

feb. 16, 2009, 10:17pm

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park
Code Talker: A Novel About the Navajo Marines of World War Two by Joseph Bruchac
Yossel by Joe Kubert (Graphic Novel - rec. for older teens)
On Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Journey Back by Johanna Reis (non-fiction, sequel to The Upstairs Room.

These are the ones I can think of right now.

feb. 21, 2009, 4:45pm

AS it happens - one year I created a list Fiction celebrating the Jewish Heritage & Experience. I even read a few.

Chotjewicz, David Daniel Half Human: And the Good Nazi. Grade 7+. Germany in the 1930s, Daniel enjoys being part of the Hitler Youth until he discovers his mother is Jewish & he is thrown out of his elite school. He still has fun with his best friend, Armin, who falls in love with Daniel's Jewish cousin; but tension mounts, racism is rampant, & Armin begins to stay away, though he takes risks & warns his friend to hide. Daniel returns to Germany as a soldier in 1945.

Ehrenhaft, Daniel. Tell It to Naomi. Grade 7+. Dave, a self-described "gangly, unglamorous 15 year-old," is an unlikely advice columnist. But a series of misunderstandings & a powerful crush lead to his secret gig as the author of "Dear Naomi," a column ostensibly written by his "glamorous" older sister.

Greene, Bette. Summer of My German Soldier. Grade 5+. World War II, a prisoner of war camp is located in her small town and 12-year-old Patty Bergen learns what it means to open her heart. Although she's Jewish, she begins to see a prison escapee, Anton, not as a Nazi--but as a lonely, frightened young man with feelings not unlike her own.

Hesse, Karen. Letters from Rifka. Grade 4-7. 12 year old Rifka's journey from a Jewish
community in the Ukraine to Ellis Island & is anything but smooth sailing. She outwits Russian soldiers & helps her family escape. Rifka catches ringworm & can’t enter the U.S. She goes through more trials until she reunites with her family.

Hoffman, Alice. Incantation. Grade 7+. During the Spanish Inquisition, sixteen-year-old Estrella, brought up a Catholic, discovers her family's true Jewish identity, and when their secret is betrayed by Estrella's best friend, the consequences are terrifying.

Kass, Pnina Moed. Real Time. Grade 8+. A suicide bomb attack on a crowded Jerusalem
bus is the focus of this story as seen by a 16
year old German boy guilt-ridden about the Nazis, a young woman claiming her Jewish heritage, and an elderly, embittered Holocaust survivor. The story then follows the narrators in the aftermath of the bombing. Provides insight into life in today’s Israel.

Levine, Gail Carson. Dave at Night. Grade 5+. New York City in 1926, Dave Caros, an orphan, living in the Hebrew Home for Boys, also known as the Hell Hole for Brats. Dave finds himself battling an abusive school-master, making friends, outsmarting bullies, & spending his nights hobnobbing with the elite crowd of the Harlem Renaissance.

Levitin, Sonia. The Cure. Grade 7+. 16 year old Gemm lives in the year 2407 & is sent back to France in 1348, time of the Black or Bubonic Plague, to cure his non-conformist tendency to create music. He finds himself the son of a Jewish moneylender & moneylenders are blamed for the spread of this dread epidemic. Also read Levitin’s Journey to America (grade 4-7, Children’s Room), about a Jewish family fleeing Nazi Germany in 1938.

Lowry, Lois. Number the Stars. Grade 5+ On September 29, 1943, word got out in Denmark that Jews were to be detained & then sent to the death camps. Within hours the Danish people arranged a small flotilla to herd 7,000 Jews to Sweden. 10 year old Annemarie Johannesen & her family help them.

Matas, Carol. After the War. Grade 7+. After surviving the Holocaust, loss of her entire family and a post-WW II Polish pogrom, 15 year old Ruth risks her life to lead a group of children across Europe to Palestine.

McMillan, Frank. Cezanne is Missing. Grade 6+ A 15-year-old girl learns that her art teacher is a survivor of Auschwitz and a fighter in the Warsaw Ghetto resistance during WW II. Her teacher is kidnapped and the girl tries to help her by attempting to decode a diary written
by her teacher's long-lost brother during World
War II. She and the teacher’s grandson are
suddenly drawn into the dangerous network of the underworld kidnappers who have targeted her teacher. READ - is a story w/in a story. Teen girl's aged music teacher is kidnapped and she teams up with the grandson to find her. Within in this quick-moving story is another story about the Polish Jewish Resistance in the Ghetto. The external story is good, but the internal is even better.

Miklowitz, Gloria D. Secrets in the House of Delgado. Grade 6+. 1492 Spanish
Inquisition, orphaned 14 year old
Maria Sanchez is a servant to 11 year old Angelica Delgado, whose family converted from Judaism to Catholicism. Maria spies on the family to see if they are still practicing Jewish rituals, but she later tries to save them.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Stones in Water. Grade 4-9. Italian boy Roberto & his friends, including a Jewish boy, are taken by German soldiers and forced to work in Germany. Roberto escapes during winter and desperately tries to make his way back home to Venice, Italy.

Nixon, Joan Lowry. Land of Hope. Grade 5-7. Rebekah, 15, and her family leave Russia for the U. S., seeking safety from the random violence against Jews. On the ship she meets two girls, learns about the opportunities for women in their new country. Problems crop up – her grandfather can’t enter the U.S., cramped living conditions, sweatshop working conditions & a bullying street gang. Rebekah's pleas to attend school & become a teacher, but her parents insist on an arranged marriage.

Orgel, Doris. The Devil in Vienna. In 1938, 13 year olds Inge & Lieselotte are best friends. Inge is Jewish & Lieselotte is in the Hitler Youth. Their friendship has becomes dangerous. As the situation of Jews in Austria becomes more & more desperate, the two girls secretly struggle against “the devil in Vienna” to keep their friendship alive.

Potok, Chiam. The Chosen. Grade 8+. In 1940s Brooklyn an accident throws together Reuven Malther, Orthodox Jew, & Danny Saunders, heir to a Hasidic rabbi. The young men form a deep friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts & crisis of faith. Also read Potok’s The Promise which continues the story of Reuven & Danny as young men. READ - when I was a teen, also My Name is Asher Lev. Thought they were great at the time and introduced me into the world of orthodox judiasm - the Hasidim.

Richter, Hans Peter. Friedrich. Grade 5+.
In Nazi Germany young Friedrich experiences increasing anti-semitism as he is growing up.

Roth, Henry. Call It Sleep. Grade 9+. The bond between David Schearl and his mother Genya cannot completely protect them from the fury of David's father and the terrors of life for a small boy on the Lower East Side in the early 1900s. (ADULT)
COMMENT - lots of people have said this is an excellent book.

Spinelli, Jerry. Milkweed. Grade 5+. He’s a boy who lives in the streets of Warsaw. He steals food for himself and the other orphans. He believes in bread, and mothers, and angels. He’s a boy who wants to be a Nazi some day, with tall shiny jackboots and a gleaming Eagle hat of his own. Until the day that suddenly makes him change his mind. And when the trains come to empty the Jews from the ghetto of the damned, he’s a boy who realizes it’s safest of all to be nobody. COMMENT -anything by Spinelli is good.

Wiesel, Elie. Night. Gr. 7+. Is based on his experience, as a young Orthodox Jew, of being sent with his family to the German concentration camps at Auschwitz and Buchenwald during the WW II. Night is the first book in a trilogy — Night, Dawn, and Day — reflecting Wiesel's state of mind during and after the Holocaust. The titles mark his transition from darkness to light, according to the Jewish tradition of counting the beginning of a new day from nightfall. (Source: Wiki-pedia:Night (book))
COMMENT - a classic.

Yolen, Jane. The Devil’s Arithmetic. Grade 4-8. Hannah, 12, is tired of hearing her grandfather rant and rave at the mention of the Nazis. At a Passover Seder, Hannah opens the door to welcome the prophet Elijah. She is transported to a village in Poland in the 1940s and captured by the Nazis. Then taken to a death camp, where a young girl named Rivka teaches her how to fight survive.

feb. 22, 2009, 5:41am

Have just posted a "new" one that I thought was fantastic especially since it was written at the time of WW2. It was originally written in Yiddish and was studied in jewish schools for a long time before it was finally translated for the general public. I found it particularly interesting because it goes some way to answering the "why did the german people let this happen?" question. It is called Emil and Karl. I would also recommend many of the ones that others have listed above also.

feb. 22, 2009, 7:52am

Such a comprehensive list. Thanks, triciareads55.

feb. 23, 2009, 11:33am

feb. 23, 2009, 2:15pm

The Chosen by Chaim Potok is a great book, as is My Name is Asher Lev. The Book Thief is another good recommendation that was made above.

març 6, 2009, 3:28pm

Gentlehands, if I remember correctly: a boy finds out his grandfather was a Nazi, a doctor who experimented on concentration camp inmates. It's been many years since I read it.
The King of Mulberry Street, an Italian-Jewish boy is stowed away and sent by his mother to America, where he has to learn to survive the streets, and keep his heritage a secret. It's based on the author's grandfather's story.

març 13, 2009, 10:58am

Are you really stuck on it being fiction? I always loved The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. When I was young, it always kind of felt like fiction to me because I was so used to reading historial fiction in diary form (I read a lot of those "Dear America" books).

març 13, 2009, 6:11pm

Anna is Still Here by Ida Vos-- set in Amsterdam just after the end of the war. A moving, memorable book.
Alan and Naomi. Will seriously make you cry. Have kleenex ready.
I did not like Anne Frank and Me and I had reservations about Hitler's Daughter.
Recent Carnegie Medal winner, Tamar by Mal Peet--for older teens, complex, interesting.
There's a series of books by Irene Watts about a girl who's taken to England on the Kindertransport--those are pretty good.

Thanks so much to triciareads (above) for the long and wonderful list! I'm teaching a course on this topic and intend to look into some of the books you recommend!

Editat: març 14, 2009, 8:28am

Uri Orlev, an Israeli writer has several books worth reading - The Man from the Other Side, The Island on Bird Street, Run Boy Run and The Lady with the Hat. Kathryn Lasky's Broken Songsuits your theme and I really liked her Blood Secret. Jane Yolen's Briar Rose is great as is Gudrun Pausewing's The Final Journey and Traitor. Also When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr.

març 29, 2009, 10:51pm

A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life by Dana Reinhardt talks about an adopted girl who discovers she's Jewish. It doesn't play a large role, but she does learn some things about Judaism.

març 29, 2009, 11:16pm

Wow! what a great list.

març 29, 2009, 11:23pm

There's also the Association of Jewish Libraries, and their Sydney Taylor Award, which recognizes excellence in Jewish books for kids- including extensive YA recommendations. If you look under Resources/Bibliographies you will also find several lists of recommended YA books.

Editat: maig 30, 2013, 5:03pm

Keep an eye out for LINE CHANGE coming this autumn from Mazo Publishers. Line Change is a witty ya novel featuring a snobby Chicago teenage hockey jock who jets to Israel for the Maccabiah games in gritty Kiryat Shemona where he suddenly finds that upper-crust suburbia isn't so cool after all.

juny 4, 2013, 8:04pm

The Hereville series of Graphic Novels by Barry Deutsch.

jul. 24, 2015, 1:49pm

Aquest missatge ha estat marcat com abús per més d'un usuari i ja no es pot veure (mostra)
My YA coming of age novel, "Love, Loss and Longing in the Age of Reagan," has a Jewish main character, who has a Holocaust survivor father and an Israeli-born mother. Although her father's experiences and its aftereffects are touched upon in the story, it really focuses on the main character trying to find an identity for herself amid the craziness of New York City (where she's attending college) circa early 1980s.

març 5, 2016, 11:11am

I really enjoyed a recently published book: The Earth is Singing by Vanessa Curtis. It is set during WW2 in Latvia and is about a Jewish family. The author researched her family history and this inspired the book, it's fantastic.

Editat: març 9, 2016, 4:17pm

I haven't visited this thread in a while but was happy to see the books mentioned here. I'd like to recommend an older author, Chaim Potok, and two of his books - The Chosen and Davita's Harp. (I read Davita's Harp a while ago and still intend to find a door harp for my house.) They aren't YA but are both about teens and perfectly appropriate for teens.