Kids Speak 6: Through Fire and Water

Chaim Walder; Avi­va Rap­pa­port, trans.
  • Review
By – January 10, 2012
The newest addi­tion to theKids Speak series is out! It con­tainssto­ries sub­mit­ted to the edi­tor by chil­dren 8 – 11 years of age and is filled­with tales of strug­gles between friends, class­mates, peers, and author­i­ty­fig­ures. We all remem­ber the per­son­al­prob­lems, fears, chal­lenges and tri­umphs of the mid­dle grades and, as a result,the authen­tic char­ac­ters in this series speak to us all. Who hasn’t been bul­lied by a group, becom­ingthe one child who is the cen­ter of everyone’s attacks and unfriend­li­ness? Who hasn’t been exclud­ed from a group for nore­a­son? And, per­haps, who hasn’t been­part of the group doing the exclu­sion, with­out ever hav­ing thought of the­ef­fect on the child who is being mis­treat­ed? Expe­ri­ences that embar­rass, fright­en, wor­ry, and both­er chil­dren are allinclud­ed. Neg­a­tive rela­tion­ships with­teach­ers are also a top­ic of dis­cus­sion. There are group dynam­ics, some pos­i­tive and some neg­a­tive. Many of the sto­ries are reward­ing and refreshing,those in which one child goes out of his or her way to include anoth­er or helpin some way. One par­tic­u­lar­ly comes tomind, a sto­ry in which a big bul­ly, called Haman” by the boy who is excluded,realizes that despite his poor behav­ior, Chaim has put his life on the line totry to save Haman’s life. Many of thesto­ries are uplift­ing and inspir­ing, though some are some­what fright­en­ing untilthe res­o­lu­tion occurs. A glos­sary ofwords in Hebrew, Yid­dish and Ara­ma­ic fol­lows the sto­ries. The chil­dren who have sub­mit­ted these sto­ries­i­den­ti­fy them­selves by age and the city in Israel in which they live. In this book, the pro­tag­o­nists come from­Jerusalem, Haifa, Beitar Illit, Kiry­at Gat and Hadera; all are Ortho­dox. This book feels authen­tic and will appeal tochil­dren in the tar­get­ed mid­dle age range. Chil­dren who are not Ortho­dox will be able to relat­ed to the very real­ex­pe­ri­ences that are shared. It can alsoserve as a read-aloud and as a trig­ger dis­cus­sion open­er. Rec­om­mend­ed pri­mar­i­ly for Ortho­dox chil­drenages 8 – 11 and all oth­er Jew­ish children.
Shelly Feit has an M.L.S. and a Sixth-year Spe­cial­ist’s Cer­tifi­cate in infor­ma­tion sci­ence. She is the library direc­tor and media spe­cial­ist at the Mori­ah School in Engle­wood, NJ.

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