In beautiful, flowing, heart-wrenching verse, Barbara Krasner tells the story of Ethel Rosenberg. Convicted as a spy and sent to the electric chair, she is portrayed here as a loving mother, devoted wife, and caring member of her extended family — a family whose other members are far less faithful, and even willing to use her for their own political aims.
Building on extensive research, the author paints a picture so evocative that the reader feels immersed in the moment and thus afraid. Julius Rosenberg makes an important appearance, but this one is truly Ethel’s story. Told from her shifting and maturing points of view, it offers a glimpse into her thoughts and hopes, loving heart, and warm nature.
Ethel’s childhood in New York City’s richly drawn, Jewish Lower East Side segues gradually into an adulthood during which her altruistic nature finds expression in political activism — but her main energies are spent nurturing her husband and children. It is through poetic language and sensitive storytelling that Krasner reveals how Ethel moves from family life to the electric chair and lasting notoriety.A triumphant combination of poetry and history, this book can be used by teachers, parents, and group leaders for discussion and analysis.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.