Year after year, Eli watches the solemn lighting of seven candles at his family’s celebration of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. On such a happy occasion, his parents and grandparents always seem sad, and Eli can’t understand why.
Then one year Eli travels to Eastern Europe to learn more about his family history. There, he learns how the candles represent his family’s connection to the Holocaust in Lithuania, and how remembering his ancestors can help heal years of grief and shame.
This powerful story, illuminated by Bill Farnsworth’s sensitive brush strokes and muted palette, can be used as an introduction to World War II and the Holocaust, and will also remind young readers how they can make a difference in the lives of their families.
School Library Journal
“The rich, textured oil paintings beautifully communicate the somber and serious mood of the text.”
“Simple, direct language follows Eli’s trajectory from puzzlement and ignorance to horrific realization and resolve.”
Ruth Vander Zee, teacher and author, has also written Erika’s Story,illustrated by Roberto Innocenti (Creative Editions), and Mississippi Morning,illustrated by Floyd Cooper (Eerdmans). Ruth lives in Miami, Florida.
Bill Farnsworth has illustrated more than forty books, including Louis Sockalexis: Native American Baseball Pioneer by Bill Wise (Lee & Low) and The Flag with Fifty-Six Stars by Susan Goldman Rubin (Holiday House). Bill lives in Florida.