The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come by Sue Macy

5 stars Nonfiction Children’s

One man’s mission helps millions.  This nonfiction book speaks volume on so many levels.  Aaron wanted to preserve his grandmother’s books which started a mission that ended up saving over a million books. He united individuals, he helped save a language, he showed what one person can do, he is bringing back a language, and he is helping people connect.

Aaron couldn’t forget how his grandmother’s journey from Eastern Europe to the U.S. ended. The few treasured possessions that she had carried with her, were now gone yet Aaron wondered about her. His college studies would draw him closer to his grandmother’s past as he realized that he needed to learn a new language to read books for one of his classes.  Finding Yiddish books were difficult so Aaron returned to his hometown where he stumbled upon his first stack of Yiddish book which started his collection.  I thought it was interesting that the Rabbi was going to bury the books (which is a sign of respect) before Aaron arrived.

Aaron began graduate school in Canada and soon his apartment was flooded with donations of Yiddish books.  He transported all the books back to Massachusetts and he didn’t give up even after talking to some important people in the Yiddish community.

I like how there are Yiddish words in the text with a glossary in the back of the book to help you figure out the meaning.  The illustrations were well done and compliment the informative and interesting text.

Don’t forget to read the afterword and note from the author, the illustrator’s note which are included at the back of the book also.  He also included (at the back of the book) a few sites if you want more information on this topic.

Aaron’s energy, ambition, and compassionate is felt through this book both in words and in the illustrations.  It’s inspiring to see how one individual can make such a difference in the world. This book is really fantastic and should be read. I highly recommend it! 5 stars

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre by Anika Denise

5 stars Children’s

After reading this children’s story and the author’s note on the back two pages, I got chills.  This story is fantastic and I am so glad that I picked it up.  It tells the true story of a woman who shared stories from her childhood which changed the lives of many.  As I read this story, I thought of how she stepped forward and went about making a difference. This woman was not a loud, strong woman.  This woman saw a void and wanted to fill it. 

The year is 1921 and Pura Teresa leaves San Juan to visit her sister in the U.S. Seeing what the U.S. had to offer, Pura finds a job and begins to settle in. When the library posts a job for a bilingual assistant, Pura knows that she is the perfect individual for the job.

Realizing there are no Puerto Rico folktales on the library shelves, Puro recalls the stories that she heard growing up. As the children gather around her during story hour, Puro doesn’t need any book to read from. Puro’s words are enough that the children are soon whisked away into Puro’s world and imagination.  It isn’t long before Puro begins to create puppets to add to her stories and then, the word gets out about Puro and her stories and there is no stopping what happens to these wonderful tales.

This children’s book put a smile on my face and it warmed my heart as I read about her journey through life, sharing her stories.  I hoped her journey would never end as she was such a positive individual.  This book gives the full account of her life and it truly is a wonderful story.  Make sure you read the author’s note which is located in the back of the book. Located also in the back of the book are a few pages on additional resources you could use for more information on topics contained in the story.