for When I Left My Village by Maxine Rose Schur and Brian Pinkney
Young Menelik describes the dangerous journey he and his family make in an effort to flee Ethiopia, where they face intense oppression and scorn because they are Jewish. The forced flight of thousands of the Beta Israel, the Jews of Ethiopia, to Israel in the mid 1980s and early 1990s was the inspiration for this perilous story in which Menelik tells of his family's efforts to escape by foot down the mountains and across plains. Fighting exhaustion and near starvation, Menelik and his family finally reach a border camp, where they wait and hope that Israel will come to their rescue. Menelik's story is grounded in cultural details, as well as the fervent hope for freedom. Menelik was introduced in an earlier story, Day of Delight (Dial, 1994). (Ages 8-10)
CCBC Choices 1996. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996. Used with permission.