Greenhorn is a different kind of Holocaust story. For one thing, it's suitable for younger readers and for another, it takes place in Manhattan.
Set in a Yeshiva (Elementary School that teaches Jewish and secular subjects) the story is told from the viewpoint of Aaron, a 6th grader.
One day, Aaron's teacher, Rabbi Ehrlich announces that twenty new students will be enrolling. The parents of all these new boys have died in concentration camps in Poland. Aaron knows about concentration camps. He knows a lot of things which he tries to share with his fellow students but they don't care about his knowledge. Instead they taunt him because he stutters.
When the new boys arrive, one of them, Daniel, is especially peculiar. Daniel rarely speaks and he carries a small tin box around like a stuffed animal or security blanket. Naturally the boys hassle him about this.
Aaron tries to befriend Daniel and although he's curious about the box he does not pressure him as the other boys do. Then one day, the other boys tackle Daniel, the box falls open, and the contents roll out. The boys all find out exactly what is in the box and why Daniel clings so desperately to it.
Author, Olswanger includes a glossary of Jewish terms used in the book. And I especially loved the "Afterward" in which she explains the real life story behind this fictionalized account.
Miriam Nerlove illustrates the story with exquisite water colors.
This is a great book for younger readers because the New York setting provides some emotional distance from a deeply painful topic. At 48 pages, it's a quick read. Perfect for boys although girls will absolutely want to read it also.
Author Anna Olswanger and publisher, NewSouth Books are of giving away a copy of GREENHORN with 2 autographs - the author's and the main character's. (His real name isn't Aaron but the character himself is real and still living.)
To enter, leave a comment here or email Carol Baldwin and I through our Talking Story newsletter. The March April theme is the Holocaust so hop on over there and check out some Holocaust related resources.