Beni’s War

Kar-Ben. Nov. 2020. 280p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541578869; pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781541578876.
Gr 5-7–A sequel to The Six-Day Hero, this historical novel set during Israel’s Yom Kippur War is a coming-of-age story about the importance of love, courage, and acceptance. Twelve-year-old Beni and his family have just moved to a new community, and Beni hates it. Worst of all are the bullies. Beni wishes he could be brave like his brother Motti, who is in the army. He knows how to be a hero. But Yom Kippur is not even half over when Motti must leave. Suddenly, the country is at war. As everyone tries to evacuate, bombs begin to fall. Relocating to safety, all they can do is wait. Yet life must go on. Beni makes friends with an unlikely trio, and together they dream of helping the war effort. When they learn that Motti is a prisoner of war in Egypt, Beni knows he must act—but will he succeed? Utilizing the perspective of one boy caught between confidence and fear, Stein masterfully weaves together the country’s rich cultural heritage and tenacity with the anxieties and sorrows of war. Using strong characters, striking landscapes, and accurate historic details, she provides a gripping glimpse of Israel in the 1970s. Readers will be motivated by Beni’s perceptiveness and inspired by the strength he demonstrates through acceptance—even towards the enemy.
VERDICT Radiating a sense of hope grounded in love of family and community, Beni’s story rises above the historic details of war and provides an important perspective for those living in uncertain times.

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