Judah Touro Didn’t Want To Be Famous

Kar-Ben. Apr. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541545618.
K-Gr 2–As a young man, Judah Touro left Boston to become a merchant in New Orleans. He quickly found success and became a notable figure in the community. During the War of 1812, Judah was severely injured, and after a long recovery he dedicated his money and time to philanthropic causes—always with the caveat that his donations remain anonymous. Touro was a devout Sephardic Jew, and his faith is reflected throughout the text of this picture book biography. While the events are factual, the text is presented as a story, and an author’s note states, “Judah’s thoughts, feelings and the details of his day-to-day life are from the author’s imagination.” The simple line drawings are limited to earth tones and generally do a nice job evoking the early 19th-century American setting, although a few spreads look strangely empty when the text describes a bustling crowd. Back matter includes an author’s note, photographs, and more facts about Touro’s life.
VERDICT This title is a solid general purchase, particularly where picture book biographies are in high demand.

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