WOW!! Kudos to Yona Zeldis McDonough, the author of “The Woodcarver’s Daughter” for writing such a unique, meaningful and memorable story for children of all ages. The genres for this book are American Historical Fiction, Jewish Children Fiction Books and Prejudice and Facism. The author vividly describes life in Russia, when the Pogroms forced the Jewish families to leave. I hear songs. (In my head) from “Fiddler on the Roof”, as the people have to leave their beloved town. Batya’s father is an amazing woodcarver, and that is all that Batya loves to do, is create something with wood. Girls aren’t allowed to be an apprentice, and she is heartbroken. Her spirited horse is one thing that she loves the most. When her father’s shop is burned to the ground, the family has to leave and go to America. Life as Batya knows ends, and hopefully there will be a new beginning.
I love the way that Yona Zeldis McDonough vividly brings her characters to life, and describes the ship voyage, the events and life in America. Imagine having to learn a new language and start all over? The author describes her characters as unique, brave, curious, resilient, complex and complicated. Batya still yearns to carve wooden figurines. She encounters problems in school, that she tries to compensate and deal with. Being a curious child, Batya takes the subway and goes to the city and Coney Island, where she gets to see the beautifully carved horses on the carousel.
Batya realizes that girls are not supposed to be wood carvers in America either. Batya is very determined and persistent to do what she must. This is a wonderful thought-provoking story that I highly recommend for all readers.