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Children's Books

Yuvi's Candy Tree CoverYuvi's Candy Tree

by Lesley Simpson
Illustrated by Janice Lee Porter

Ages K-5

 

Five-year-old Yuvi narrates her tense exodus from Ethiopia to Israel in this story based on the real-life journey made by Yuvi Tashome, who was among thousands of Ethiopian Jews relocated, secretly at first, to Israel during the 1980s and '90s as part of Operations Moses and Solomon. Simpson (The Purim Surprise) and Porter (Blackberry Stew) convey the hardships faced by Yuvi, her relatives, and the other refugees (they are robbed three times), while providing reassurance in the form of references to the group's unshakable faith in their escape, and swooping, tableau-like paintings rendered in a comforting palette of desert yellows and cool blues. "We have angels with us. We'll fly home," Yuvi's grandmother repeatedly tells her. The eponymous candy tree represents the confidence instilled in Yuvi that a better life awaits (she comes to believe that the orange trees that line the road in Israel are indeed the candy trees she has dreamed of). Though neither the story nor the author's note explicitly state why the refugees are fleeing Ethiopia (mostly famine), readers should finish the book with a strong sense of their strength, faith, and determination. Ages 59. (Mar.)


 

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