Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: Meet Rebecca

Another great American Girl story! Like so many of the other American Girl books, Meet Rebecca has a lot of heart. Rebecca is a Jewish girl living in New York City in 1914 with her twin sisters, brother, parents, and grandparents. Rebecca, being a middle child, always feel left out- especially from her teenage twin sister's activities. When Rebecca's family receives word that their family in Russia is suffering due to prejudice towards Jews and the oncoming war, the family must act fast to save the money to earn their Russian family's passage to America. Rebecca's dad has some money saved towards the ship fare, but it's not yet enough. What can Rebecca do to help?

Well, Rebecca uses her talent in needlework and position as a helper in her father's store to help earn money. Initially she's saving money to buy her own candlesticks for the Sabbath supper. Rebecca has always wanted the honor of lighting the candles, but due to her age she is always overlooked for her older sisters, Sophie and Sadie. Rebecca finally realizes that if she doesn't buy her own candlesticks, she can use her money to help in a much bigger way. 

I really liked this story for several reasons:

1.) The obvious history lesson it offered my little sister.

2.) This American Girl book introduces us to a girl who is a different religion than the other American Girls. My little sister knew nothing about the Jewish religion before and now she has a basic knowledge of their traditions and we even learned a little Yiddish vocabulary.

3.) And most importantly, Rebecca's story is essentially a story about hard work and sacrifice. It was not easy for Rebecca to sacrifice to help others, but through the Jewish tradition of Mitzvah (which means 'good deed') she learns how wonderful it is to help others. Rebecca's dad also is also very charitable through the recycling and repair of shoes in his shoe shop for those in need.  

I'm giving Meet Rebecca 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommend this book to young girls. I found it also made a great read-aloud book for story time because I was able to quiz my sister throughout the book on the Yiddish vocabulary and Jewish traditions to keep her memory fresh. Rebecca's sacrifice is also a great conversation topic at the end of the book. Chloe loves this book so much that we read it in one day!

Chloe Says...

Rebecca was very pretty. The book was very challenging because she has to earn a lot of money to make a lot of money so her cousin can come get out of the war. I think Rebecca was very generous. 

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