Anna and Solomon

Elaine Sny­der
  • Review
By – October 31, 2014

It is 1897, and the young new­ly­weds, Anna and Solomon, fear that attacks on Jews by the Czar’s sol­diers have made liv­ing in Rus­sia too dan­ger­ous. They agree they must move to Amer­i­ca for a bet­ter life. But they only have enough mon­ey to book a sin­gle pas­sage. Anna con­vinces Solomon that he must go alone, and when he saves enough for her tick­et, she will join him. After months and months of scrimp­ing and sav­ing, he sends for Anna. But when he goes to meet her at the ship, it is her younger broth­er who dis­em­barks. Solomon is shocked, but under­stands that Anna could not leave her broth­er behind. Twice more he sends for Anna. Twice more she sends a fam­i­ly mem­ber in her place — her old­er broth­er and then her moth­er. Each time Solomon is more dis­ap­point­ed, but real­izes Anna could nev­er be hap­py if her fam­i­ly is not safe. 

First-time author Elaine Snyder’s touch­ing sto­ry is rem­i­nis­cent of how Jacob labored for sev­en years to win Rachel, and was then dis­ap­point­ed when his bride turned out to be her old­er sis­ter, Leah. But in this sto­ry, Anna choos­es to put the wel­fare of her fam­i­ly before her own wish­es — and Solomon real­izes it is for the best. Their love for each oth­er makes the long sep­a­ra­tion endurable and, sur­round­ed by fam­i­ly, they build a new life in America. 

This true sto­ry of Snyder’s grand­par­ents has been ten­der­ly illus­trat­ed by her award-win­ning son-in-law, Har­ry Bliss, who is also a car­toon­ist for The New York­er. An author’s note pro­vides addi­tion­al infor­ma­tion on the fam­i­ly, as well as a pho­to of Anna and Solomon with their first child, the author’s moth­er. High­ly recom­mended for ages 5 – 9.

Susan Kan­tor was a senior writer/​editor for Girl Scouts of the USA, a chil­dren’s book edi­tor, and a past judge for the Nation­al Jew­ish Book Awards in the illus­trat­ed children’s book cat­e­go­ry. She is a writer and a docent at the Rubin Muse­um in New York City, where she leads pub­lic and pri­vate tours.

Discussion Questions