A Queen to the Rescue: The Story of Henrietta Szold, Founder of Hadassah

Creston. Oct. 2021. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781939547958.
K-Gr 4–This biography of the founder of the Jewish women’s charity Hadassah effectively introduces a lesser-known, influential woman to a wider audience. The text goes through Henrietta Szold’s life, from her childhood in Baltimore, to becoming a teacher who started the first ESL school for a wave of Jewish immigrants, to being the first editor of the Jewish publication society. She founded Hadassah in what was then Palestine, creating a charity that provided healthcare, food, and clothing to those in need, regardless of race or religion. Finally, she was instrumental in saving 1,100 children during World War II and bringing them to Palestine. Using concise but informative text, Churnin does an excellent job of introducing this dynamic woman in a picture book format. The accessible text includes extensive information in minimal space. Nayberg’s modernist, expressionistic illustrations effectively capture Henrietta’s powerful persona, along with the darkness of the times in which she lived. Muted tones of greys, blues, and browns imbue the pages on the civil war and the Holocaust with a sense of danger. Eye-catching pops of yellow and red combine with a style reminiscent of Chagall to give the illustrations a powerful emotional effect. An extensive author’s note expands on the text to give a more complete biography of Szold, along with other useful information.
VERDICT A worthwhile addition for any library looking to expand picture book content on powerful women, this will be especially appreciated in libraries serving Jewish populations.

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