Sunday, February 9, 2014


Welcome to Marvelous Middle Grade Monday (MMGM), a weekly event hosted by author Shannon Messenger. For a list of other MMGM posts, click HERE.

Anna Olswanger
NewSouth, Inc.
48 pp.
Ages 8 - 12

In Anna Olswanger's Greenhorn, a young Holocaust survivor arrives at a New York yeshiva in 1946 where he will study and live. His only possession is a small box that he never lets out of his sight. Daniel, the young survivor, rarely talks, but the narrator, a stutterer who bears the taunts of the other boys, comes to consider Daniel his friend. The mystery of what's in the box propels this short work, but it's in the complex relationships of the school boys that the human story is revealed. In the end, Aaron, the stutterer, finds his voice and a friend in Daniel, and their bond offers hope for a future life of dreams realized, one in which Daniel is able to let go of his box. Greenhorn is a powerful story that gives human dimension to the Holocaust. It poignantly underscores our flawed humanity and speaks to the healing value of friendship. Families will want to read Greenhorn together. 


This is a very short volume, but Greenhorn is a story you won't soon forget. Inspired by actual events, the story is told with tenderness, and is meant to remind us all of the horrors perpetrated on the Jews and others by the Nazis, hopefully so that the world would never let that happen again. Despite its length, Greenhorn deserves a permanent spot alongside other Holocaust books like Diary of Anne Frank, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and The Boy Who Dared. Highly recommend it.


Profanity:  None
Violence:  Mild
Sexuality:  None

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