The Six-Day Hero

  • Review
By – September 7, 2017

The open­ing scene in The Six-Day Hero takes place at a cer­e­mo­ny in cel­e­bra­tion of Israel’s nine­teenth birth­day. Twelve-year-old Motti’s broth­er Gideon is on the dais being hon­ored as an Inde­pen­dence Day baby. Mot­ti can’t stand the bor­ing, hot cer­e­mo­ny and wrig­gles out to get a drink. The sto­ry con­tin­ues in that vein, pre­sent­ing the ear­ly days of the state of Israel through the eyes of a typ­i­cal twelve-year-old. On the cusp of what we now know as the Six-Day War, the young coun­try is ever vig­i­lant of the ene­mies sur­round­ing it and the role that every cit­i­zen and res­i­dent must play in defend­ing their country. 

Mot­ti both idol­izes and resents his old­er broth­er, a strap­ping young sol­dier who comes home from the army base on the week­ends. On one occa­sion Mot­ti gets to vis­it the base and sur­rep­ti­tious­ly sees more than he should, giv­ing the view­er a look at the young coun­try on high alert, prepar­ing for an immi­nent attack. Dur­ing the actu­al attack the author depicts how par­ents, teach­ers, stu­dents, and the elder­ly respond and feel, bring­ing the read­er close to the con­fu­sion and raw feel­ings of the time. 

The Six-Day Hero does not shy away from show­ing the real­i­ties of war  there is graph­ic vio­lence, and some beloved fam­i­ly mem­bers do not sur­vive. Depic­tions of the sor­row that fol­lows are vivid and affect­ing. But the sto­ry ends on a hope­ful note as Motti’s fam­i­ly explores parts of Jerusalem long cut off to them and are able to see Mot­ti’s father’s child­hood home, recon­nect­ing with old neigh­bors and renew­ing long­time friendships.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 10 and up.

Discussion Questions