Noted actor and director Leonard Nimoy is profiled in this wonderful picture biography which details his rich Jewish background, his early love of theater, his highly developed work ethic, his deep love of family, and his determination to achieve his goals.
Assisted by Edel Rodriguez’s captivating illustrations, Richard Michelson explores Nimoy’s famous struggle to both identify with and separate from his most iconic character, Mr. Spock of Star Trek, as well as the special touches the actor created and perfected in bringing this well-known television and movie personality to life. The story traces the source of Spock’s signature Vulcan hand greeting to Nimoy’s childhood, sneaking a peek at the priestly blessing in synagogue during High Holiday services.
The child of immigrants who felt a bit alien themselves in their new country, Nimoy brought a nuanced understanding to the experience of his Star Trek character — a role he initially did not take very seriously but later recognized for the cultural phenomenon it became.
Michelson’s personal relationship with Nimoy adds depth to this touching story about a young actor translating the immigrant experience into a beloved but bizarre television character. The text and engaging full-page illustrations of Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy draw the reader into Nimoy’s world, helping to make this book an experience to savor.
Star Trek fans will love reading about their hero. Readers looking for a Jewish role model will find a good one here. Everyone will admire the true story of a boy who dreams big dreams, dreams as big as the universe, and perseveres until they come true.
Highly recommended for ages 5 – 10.
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.