Tag Archives: teens

A Boy Named 68818 by Israel Stark


A Boy Named 68818, by Israel Stark, is an exceptional memoir of a little boy who survived the Holocaust.

A Boy Named 68818Geared for children 10 to 14 years old, this is a book that readers of all ages can learn from.

It is the true story of Srulek Storch, whose hometown of Podhoryan  was invaded by the Nazis when he was fourteen years old. Everything Srulek had known was stripped away from him. How this young boy survived, not only physically, but spiritually, is an awe-inspiring tale.

What makes this book unique is not just the inspiring story, but the way it is presented. With beautiful illustrations by Gadi Pollack and Alex Firley, maps, an extensive vocabulary section and an appendix that is as fascinating to read as the story, A Boy Named 68818 is meant to be an intensive, fascinating and engaging learning experience.

For a long time now, whenever I would run into the co-author, Miriam Stark Miller, she would tell me she was working on her father’s memoirs. I was delighted when we met earlier this year to hear the memoir was finally published. But it wasn’t until I held the book in my hands and started leafing through that I fully appreciated what a monumental task Mrs. Miller and her father had undertaken. It’s a stunning labor of love, designed to teach the next generations that it is possible to hold on to one’s emunah even in the darkest of times.

As Harav Israel Meir Lau writes in his haskamah, “Aside from telling the story of the author’s personal encounters throughout this era, A Boy Named 68818 teaches future generations an important lesson: How Jews sacrificed their lives in sanctification of G-d’s Name, as well as how they knew how to live in sanctification of His Name … even in the harshest situations… .”

The book also garnered praise from Harav Shmuel Yaakov Klein, director of publications at Torah Umesorah.

It’s hard to imagine teachers not falling in love with this book. To make their task even easier, the authors have set up a website with additional resources and suggestions to help teachers use the book in classrooms. Dr. Danny M. Cohen, Assistant Professor of Instruction at the Northwestern University’s School of Education noted that “what makes this book outstanding as an educational text is the extensive supplementary materials that can be found at the back of the book … The supplementary materials include maps, historical timelines, family photographs, primary documents, images of real artifacts, suggested classroom activities, and reader questions, which will no doubt make this book a pleasure to teach.”

The authors have created something really remarkable. This is really a Holocaust memoir unlike any other.

Buy now from Amazon.

Published by Feldheim

We received a review copy.

 

Midnight Music by Menucha Chana Levin

Midnight Music is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fifth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

Midnight Music cover by Menucha Chana LevinMidnight Music first appeared as a serialized story in Binah Bunch Magazine.

From the back cover:

Tehilla Sherman was perfectly happy living in her comfortable old house in a small New Jersey town, attending the school run by her parents. Then, to everyone’s shock, the school has to close down due to lack of funds and her parents need to find new jobs.

At the end of the summer, Tehilla has to adjust to a very different lifestyle in a high-rise apartment in Brighton Beach, New York. There, she meets Galia, a girl originally from Russia, who is just starting to discover her Jewish heritage. Both Tehilla and Galia find themselves being challenged by new experiences. Can their mutual love of music help them to build a true friendship?

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the castle builders by menucha chana levin the youngest bride by menucha chana levin A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

Teens Talk by Malka Katzman

Teens Talk by Malka Katzman is a book about the inner-most secrets of friends you wish you’d had when you were in high school.

Teens Talk by Malka KatzmanIt took a while to be able to review this book, because my teens took it and wouldn’t give it back!

That should tell us all we need to know about it.

The true stories of twenty-two teenage girls are presented in a diary-like format. Each chapter is about a different girl and situation. Teens Talk offers an intimate exploration of the complicated issues young people must grapple with.

There’s the  girl who fears she’s got a terrible illness.

One of the girls, Malka, is leaving behind everything she knows to move to a new country.  Anyone who’s ever moved as a child will relate to what she’s going through.

Another is shocked when she learns why she’s lost her best friend.  What teen doesn’t have bumpy patches with friends?

The issues are the kind that can take over a teen’s entire world.  While learning how each kid faced her challenge, readers are bound to identify with much of what they are going through.

Teens Talk is an opportunity for teenage girls to read about people like themselves.  At this delicate developmental stage, it’s vital for them to see they aren’t alone, even when they have problems and fears that they might not have admitted to their best friend.

There aren’t many books specifically for frum teens, so this is an important contribution for a group of readers that could use a lot more attention.

I’d recommend the book to parents as well. It’s an important reminder of what it is like to be a teenager.  Carefree, it’s not.  Reading this may make us all a bit kinder, a bit more patient and understanding toward those sometimes challenging young people.

From Israel Bookshop Publications.

We received a review copy of this book.

Purchase now from Amazon.com

A Stranger to My Brothers by Henye Meyer

A well-researched historical coming-of-age novel, A Stranger to My Brothers is a standout book for teens that will appeal just as much to adults.

Stranger to My BrothersAt first glance, author Henye Meyer’s journey through early early Medieval times is a gripping tale of swashbuckling adventure.

The plot has enough drama to keep readers on the edge of their seats, flipping pages late into the night.

But there is far more to this novel.

The details of every day life 11th-century England, a time when paganism still smoldered and Christianity was just taking over, offer a window into a world we rarely get to see.

Martin is an orphaned teen and we get to travel with him through Europe, join the crusades, live through pogroms, walk through Hungary and explore Constantinople in all its Byzantine glory.

Martin’s dream to join the Byzantine emperor’s Varangians guard will introduce readers to groups and events that many history books have left out.

Through myriad little touches – the feel of different grades of woven fabrics, the balance of a well-made sword – Mrs. Meyer brings to life the world our ancestors inhabited.

There is more graphic violence in this book than most frum readers may be used to. Pogroms are violent and Mrs. Meyer doesn’t pretend they are not.

Frightening challenges abound, but the pleasures and human relationships that are not so different from ours today are all there, too.

The latter is where this novel really shines. Its realistic portrayal of an angry teenager is honest and fresh. Martin is an honestly portrayed abused, angry young boy.

He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder, he’s got a giant boulder. He’s selfish and callous one moment – and then heroically self-sacrificing the next. He’s rude, obnoxious and at times engages in deeply inappropriate behavior.

In other words, he’s a believable peasant teenager who grew up barely knowing he was Jewish. Despite that, Mrs. Meyer manages to make us love him and keep rooting for him, which is in itself really something!

What happens when he meets another Jew is not at all what one expects. The characters around him don’t fit stereotypes – the helping hands most often come from the least likely people. This is no smooth slide into a frum life with an easy happy ever after. Martin’s a tough kid and there are wrenching decisions, disastrous falls and many heartbreaks before he grows into a man and chooses his path.

There are also lots of unexpected flashes of humor and some complex other characters along the way.

Original, exciting, honest and real. Highly recommended for teens over 13 and adults.

A Stranger to My Brothers was previously published as Fall of the Sun God.

Self-published. (See our FAQ on self-published books.)

We received a review copy of this book.

Mrs. Henye Meyer is also the author of:

This Is America

This is America!

(Israel Bookshop Publications)

 

 

crocodile island

The Exiles of Crocodile Island

(ArtScroll Youth)

 

 


adrenaline rush

the humorous thriller, Adrenalin Rush (Menucha Publishers).

 

 

 

Starlight by Henye MeyerStarlight (Menucha Publishers)

 

A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana Levin

A Family for Frayda is the new teen novel by Menucha Chana Levin.

This is her fourth novel and she’s been published in Hamodia, Chabad.org, Aish.com and other Jewish media outlets.

A Family for Frayda by Menucha Chana LevinFrom the back cover:

Life’s not easy for fifteen-year-old Frayda. Her father suddenly passed away, her mother remarried and moved to New York, and Frayda was left behind in Jerusalem. Now Hadassah, the woman she boards with, is going to England on a business trip and Frayda needs a place to stay while she’s gone. Feeling alone and dejected, nothing seems to be working out for her. Then, one day in the local bookstore, Frayda meets Elisheva who introduces her to the friendly Glazer family and things start turning around. But can it last?

Readers will identify with Frayda throughout her journey of self-discovery and cheer her on through every obstacle. Her warmth and resilience will continue to inspire long after the last page has been turned.

Published by Israel Bookshop Publications.

Purchase now from Amazon.

Menucha Chana Levin is also the author of:

the youngest bride by menucha chana levin the castle builders by menucha chana levin