Doctor Esperanto and the Language of Hope

illus. by Zosia Dzierzawska. 40p. Candlewick. Mar. 2019. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780763689155.
Gr 2–4—Dr. Esperanto, the pseudonym of L. L. Zamenhof, comes out of deep obscurity in this intriguing picture book biography. Growing up in Poland, Zamenhof spoke several languages. While he graduated from medical school and practiced as an opthamologist, his passion was creating a universal language so everyone could understand one another and live in harmony. The story deftly explains Zamenhof's attempts to create Esperanto. It also delves into his father's lack of encouragement. The story ends on a positive note, with Zamenhof joining a hopeful international conference on Esperanto in Paris. A page explaining why the language might be beneficial is appended. Further biographical information is also included. This is a true picture book, with no index. The text is fairly brief. Softly colored cartoon illustrations show various, mostly European cultures. The overall feeling is warm and optimistic. This is an inspiring story of determination and hope.
VERDICT Recommended in part because there are no other books about Esperanto or Zamenhof for this grade range. Especially useful for adults interested in the language who want to share their enthusiasm with their students or children in their lives.

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