Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosenberg’s Life in Poems

Calkins Creek. Sept. 2022. 272p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781635926255.
Gr 8 Up–Ethel Rosenberg was killed by the electric chair on June 19, 1953. She was the first victim of American fascism. This is her story. She was mother to Michael and Robby, and wife to Julius—also killed by electric chair. Rosenberg was first the daughter of Jewish immigrants and grew up in 1920s New York City’s Lower East Side poverty, when worker’s rights were null. When the concept of Communism was brought to her and her husband’s attention, it was an intriguing idea—one where communities would not live in squalor, but... “working for the brotherhood of all men.” One day she signs a petition for the Communist Party’s candidate for city council. Years later, this amounts to her husband being called into a loyalty hearing at work. The Rosenbergs wound up in jail. The charges: espionage against the United States. Told in verse, this is a story of persistence and resilience. Rosenberg stood up for what she believed in, called out injustices, and was committed to the fight to end poverty and bring rights to the worker. Excellently written and expertly researched, Krasner’s work tells an important story not to be forgotten by time. A painful tale of familial betrayal, and yet another failure of the U.S. justice system. Includes an epilogue, a time line of events, source notes, and a selected bibliography.
VERDICT A jaw-dropping true story for any YA reader interested in U.S. political history.

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