Red and Green and Blue and White

Levine Querido. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781646140879.
Gr 1-5–In 1993, the people of Billings, Montana, joined together to fight a series of hate crimes against one of their Jewish neighbors. Wind has simplified this true story with beautiful, poetic text paired with Zelinksy’s rich, layered, and stunning illustrations. On Chanukah, Isaac lights the menorah in his front window, making his house glow blue and white in the night, “on a block dressed up in Red and Green.” When a rock smashes Isaac’s window, his family is afraid to light their menorah. But, “if they didn’t, Isaac knew it would be like hiding they were Jewish. That didn’t feel right.” In a simple act of compassion and solidarity, Isaac’s best friend and neighbor, Teresa, affixes a hand-drawn picture of a menorah to her front window, so that “through the paper, the light shone Blue and White.” Others followed Teresa’s example, and within three weeks menorahs were displayed in more than 10,000 windows so that the entire town glowed “Red and Green and Blue and White.” While the source of the violence is never stated or explained, the dark, expressive illustrations depict the scary, emotional scene with sensitivity. A brief author’s note explains, “the people in Billings chose to not just stand by and be BYstanders while bad things happened to others. They chose to be UPstanders.” For older readers, Janice Cohn's The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate, goes into greater detail. 
VERDICT A powerful and inspiring example of community, friendship, respect, and love.

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