Children’s

A Cage With­out Bars

Anne Dublin

  • Review
By – August 7, 2018

Jew­ish his­to­ry is cer­tain­ly rife with bru­tal­i­ty, but such cru­el­ty has not been unique­ly faced by Jews. Indeed, the African slaves in A Cage With­out Bars are treat­ed as wretched­ly as the Jew­ish chil­dren with whom they share a hard and hope­less life, in this nov­el based on the true sto­ry of enslaved Span­ish Jew­ish chil­dren on the island of São Tomé.

The read­er fol­lows the har­row­ing adven­tures of twelve-year-old Joseph and his younger sis­ter, Gra­cia, who are sud­den­ly and bru­tal­ly sep­a­rat­ed from their fam­i­ly after hav­ing escaped the Span­ish Inqui­si­tion. The well-devel­oped char­ac­ters feel very real. Although the book is explic­it about the suf­fer­ing these chil­dren and oth­ers endured, the excel­lent writ­ing makes the book acces­si­ble to chil­dren, and the end­ing offers cause for mut­ed optimism.

The book con­tains a glos­sary as well as a list for fur­ther read­ing and viewing.

Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and free­lance writer, Helen Weiss Pin­cus, has taught mem­oir writ­ing and cre­ative writ­ing through­out the NY Metro area to senior cit­i­zens and high school stu­dents. Her work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Record, The Jew­ish Stan­dard, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. She recent­ly added Bub­by” to her job description.

Discussion Questions