Amer­i­can Golem: The New World Adven­tures of an Old World Mud Monster

Marc Lumer
  • Review
By – August 20, 2018

This light­heart­ed pic­ture book recounts the adven­tures of a lit­tle Jew­ish boy who immi­grates to Amer­i­ca with his fam­i­ly from the old coun­try where peo­ple didn’t like [them] much because [they] were dif­fer­ent.” Even Golem, the giant mud mon­ster cre­at­ed by the boy’s rab­bi father, couldn’t pro­tect them.

The lit­tle boy feels scared in this new coun­try where every­thing [is] big, and crowd­ed, and strange,” so he makes his own golem to pro­tect him. How­ev­er, the golem proves a hin­drance, until the mon­ster helps the neigh­bor­hood kids and the young immi­grant become friends.

Through an amus­ing sto­ry and charm­ing, high­ly detailed illus­tra­tions, Amer­i­can Golem artic­u­lates the fear of every new­com­er: that they won’t fit in. The book’s les­son — that it’s impor­tant to be open to new expe­ri­ences and peo­ple — is time­ly, and its writ­ing is acces­si­ble to young peo­ple. The book includes a mean­ing­ful author’s note which fur­ther expands upon this topic.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 6 to 9.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

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