A book of rare beauty, perfect for our time.
A mother and child in 1939 Poland are talking. This is the way into a new children’s book—The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey written by Pat Black-Gould and illustrated by Katya Royz.
The time and place alert adults immediately to the context but for children they are gently led into the experience. A mother has found a way to gently guide her seven-year-old daughter on a safe path while terror stalks right outside their door. She guides her daughter to make a trade: crystal beads for the Star of David. Why?
The author guides readers along with the illustrations giving the narrative texture. Tension builds as the story unfolds, with a terrifying encounter with Nazi interrogators. We do not know what might happen. We think the worst. The horrible men leave, and we breathe again. Lalka asks a question of the Mother Superior. It is not just any question:…
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