The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs

Scholastic. Oct. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338225891.
Gr 3-5–In the small town of Eishyshok, previously Poland, now Lithuania, lived a young Jewish girl named Yaffa. Her family roots went back in the town for 900 years. Her grandmother ran a studio where people from the village came to get their photographs taken for New Year’s greetings and memories. But then the war came, and the Nazi soldiers rounded up the Jews in Eishyshok and killed all but Yaffa and her family who escaped and hid. Thirty-five years later, President Jimmy Carter reached out to Yaffa and asked her to help with a memorial being built for the victims of the Holocaust. Yaffa remembered the photographs her grandmother had taken, and the ones she had hidden in her socks as she fled the village. She decided to build the memorial not on bricks, but on photographs that were saved from Eishyshok. Traveling around the world, she found 6,000 photographs to display on what would later be called the Tower of Life. Not a memorial of the dead, but of the life that came from her beloved hometown. There are many picture books about the Holocaust, but this one stands out with Gal’s beautiful watercolor pictures and the true account of one woman’s goal that her community never be forgotten.
VERDICT A beautiful tribute to one small town and the six million Jews across Europe who lost their lives during the Holocaust. Highly recommended.

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