Monday, January 22, 2007

The Night of the Burning: Devorah's Story

Wulf, Linda Press. 2006. THE NIGHT OF THE BURNING: DEVORAH’S STORY. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux. ISBN 0374364192 [Suggested Grade Levels 6-10]

After the Great War in Europe, tension between Jews and non-Jews grew significantly and often resulted in damaging attacks led by Russian soldiers. One such event occurred in Domachevo, the town that was home to Devorah and her family. When the Night of the Burning ended, eleven-year-old Devorah and her younger sister Nechama were the only survivors in the community and were taken to a nearby orphanage for Jewish children. There, Devorah begins her new life of caring for and protecting her sister while living in a constant state of fear and reliving memories, both good and bad, from the past.

The girls’ future changes, however, when Isaac Ochberg chooses Devorah and Nechama to travel with him to South Africa. Though hesitant, Devorah agrees at the insistence of her younger sister and thus begins the journey to their new home and to the new families that await them there. The story is told through the eyes of Devorah which allows readers to grasp the past pains and memories as well as the future hopes and realizations of a young girl. A young girl who would eventually marry, have children, and become the inspiration for THE NIGHT OF THE BURNING. In her debut novel, Linda Press Wulf shares her mother-in-law’s story of the importance of remembering.

Have readers interview and collect stories from their own family members, such as parents and grandparents, and share the stories with the group. Also encourage children to record the gathered stories to promote the importance of remembering.

Other books about Jewish refugees:
Millman, Isaac. HIDDEN CHILD. ISBN 0374330719
Ruby, Lois. SHANGHAI SHADOWS. ISBN 0823419606

By Mary D. Buckalo

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