Review: The Woodcarver's Daughter

 The Woodcarver's Daughter

by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group)

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Stacy Mozer

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The Woodcarver's Daughter is the story of a Russian Jewish family that is forced to immigrate because of pograms in Russia. But Batya's story isn't about the challenges of immigration or fitting into a new world, it's about the difficulties of being a girl in this time period. Batya's love of woodcarving, and the way society prevents her from enjoying her passion, is contrasted with her older brother who is forced into that apprenticeship even though he has no interest. Batya's willingness to continue to push her elders to see how capable she is a good lesson for anyone who is being told they cannot do something.

I hope this book will be considered for a Sydney Taylor book honor because the book has literary merit. It has a positive and authentic Jewish religious or cultural content. The book would be enjoyed by students in second - fifth grade. It is very similar in level to Molly's Pilgrim, and the two books could even be used together in a classroom.

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Reviewer Stacy Mozer a veteran elementary school teacher, currently teaching advanced language arts to second - fifth graders. In addition to teaching, she is a middle grade author, a book blogger, and serves as Co-Regional Advisor for the New England Region of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.