Too Far From Home

Kar-Ben. Mar. 2020. 96p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781541546714; pap. $8.99. ISBN 9781541546738.
Gr 3-7–Shmuel’s middle grade tale offers readers a realistic depiction of a biracial child’s encounter with bias and discrimination. Maskerem, who was born to an Ethiopian mother and a Hebrew American father, must leave her birthplace and grandmother in Kazerin in the Golan Heights of Israel. When her mother, an educational counselor for the Ministry of Education, receives a promotion, her family moves to the town of Herzliya near Tel Aviv after Operation Solomon, where several thousand Ethiopian refugees were brought to Israel. On her first day of school, Maskerem realizes she is the only person of color in the fifth grade. She encounters ignorance and prejudice from her Hebrew classmates. With a little help from her Ethiopian grandmother, Maskerem embraces her unique identity and teaches her peers about her heritage through a family tree assignment. Readers will find Maskerem brave for battling against bigotry. Her grandmother adds an additional emotional impact to Maskerem’s journey. Pair with Neesha Meminger’s Shine, Coconut Moon; Alan Gratz’s Refugee, and Alma Flor Ada’s My Name Is María Isabel.
VERDICT A strong addition to any collection seeking titles that focus on celebrating the self and combating bias and injustice

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