Recommended reading

June 8, 2010

By Contributor

TEEN REVIEW

‘Yellow Star’

By Jennifer Roy

Syvia’s father has an uncanny knack for listening to his gut. Again and again, he turns away from danger and hides his family and many others. One day, he grabs Syvia and takes her into the cemetery, where he digs a grave for her to sleep in.

Waiting. Hiding. Running. Hiding…waiting…caught! Thanks to luck, her father’s brilliance, and Syvia’s great courage, she was one of only 12 children to survive the ghetto in Lodz, Poland.

But how? During World War II, more than 250,000 Jews lived in the Lodz Ghetto; in 1945, only 800 remained.

“Yellow Star” is Syvia’s story of survival — and Syvia is Jennifer Roy’s real Aunt Sylvia. Thanks to Aunt Sylvia’s remarkable memory, the simple words and vivid imagery of Roy’s free verse create a story that is immediate, emotional and gripping. Even though the events are horrifying, I couldn’t put this book down — Syvia’s tale is one of resilience and triumph against great odds.

Yellow Star is definitely a crossover work, appealing to readers of all ages.

By Carrie Bowman

Issaquah teen librarian

ADULT REVIEW

‘The Housekeeper and the Professor’

By Yoko Ogawa

This is a slim little book about a mathematics professor who has a car accident. The resulting brain damage allows him to remember only the last 80 minutes and anything that happened before 1975, when the accident occurred. Luckily, he therefore remembers his theorems and favorite baseball players. Each day, when the housekeeper comes, she has to begin again with introducing herself.

It’s a quirky book, but well worth the read. How the housekeeper, her young son and the professor develop a long and lasting friendship — and learn a lot about math — results in a warm and highly original story.

Elizabeth Panni

Issaquah librarian

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