Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: Greenhorn By Anna Olswanger and Illustrated by Miriam Nerlove

In 1946, a young Holocaust survivor arrives to a New York yeshiva. The orphan, Daniel, is one of twenty boys from Poland who lost their parents in concentration camps. Daniel brings with him the only possession he owns, a small box he never lets out of his sight.

The narrator, a boy with a stuttering problem named Aaron, befriends Daniel. Together they face the taunts of the other schoolboys as they tease Aaron about his speech. At the same time, the other boys try to cajole Daniel into revealing what is inside his precious box.

A haunting secret lies within the box. A secret left me shocked and horrified while at the same time leaving me in awe at the healing power of friendship and love. In a sea of Holocaust books, Greenhorn stands apart as a simple but powerful story of the horrors of inhumanity towards our fellow man. Olswanger's masterfully written short, illustrated middle grade novel lends itself to a more mature audience or a parent-child read aloud and  is sure to spark a somber discussion. The fact that Greenhorn is based on a true story, deepens the powerful impact. 

Highly Recommended (5 stars)

Publishing Information

Publisher: New South Books
Ages: 8 and up
Pages: 48
ISBN-13: 978-1-58838-235-1

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