The Jewish Eye
A New Boy
A New Boy
By Eve Tal
Illustrated by Ora Shwartz
English - Hebrew Bilingual Edition
Milk & Honey Press, 2006
Reviewed by Anna Dogole - October 17, 2011
When Boris joins Miss Rina's kindergarten class, he doesn't speak any Hebrew. You see, he was born in Russia and is a new immigrant to Israel. The other kids in the class try to make Boris welcome, but all he want's to do is sit by himself and sulk. Whenever anyone tries to play with him, he just pushes them away. Eventually, the other kids in the class stop trying to befriend Boris... That is until the father of one of the boys in the class is called up for reserve duty in the Army. The next day in school, this boy is sad, and doesn't want to play with anyone because he misses his Daddy. Suddenly, he understands Boris's problem, he too is sad and lonely - he misses his old friends, his old home, and his old way of life. With this understanding, the young boy is able to make friends with the new boy! When the next new student arrives in the class, all the kids are better prepared and more understanding, and quickly make friends with the new immigrant.
If you've ever been the 'new kid' in a class, you can understand what Boris must have felt like - only worse. Not only was he 'the new boy' in school, but he also did not speak the language or understand the culture! This is a plight faced by hundreds of students every year who immigrate (make Aliyah) to Israel. In The New Boy, Eve Tal has crafted a story that is not only entertaining, but also one that will help youngsters understand the importance of being welcoming and companionate to new classmates. Along the way readers are introduced to two very real aspects of Israeli life - the constant arrival and integration of new immigrants, and the regular absence of parents from the home when they are called up for reserve or active military duty.
The New Boy was originally written in Hebrew, and this bilingual edition includes the original Hebrew text, along with an English translation. It is also one of three children's books currently being offered by the Milk and Honey Press. All three books are bilingual - with text in both English and Hebrew, and all three books are geared toward children ages 2-8. The purpose of these books is to help young children connect with their Israeli cousins and to plant a seed that will grow into a lifetime love for Israel. They also offer, on their website, a wealth of resources for teachers and parents, including curriculum guides.
The New Boy is a fun book to read. It is a great read-out-loud book for non-readers, a perfect book for new readers, and an excellent book for use in beginning Hebrew classes (the Hebrew text includes vowels). In addition, this book includes colorful, primitive illustrations by Ora Shwartz that will engage non-readers and delight new readers alike. The book's author, Eve Tal, who lives on Kibbutz Hatzor in Israel, has also written several other children's books. You can learn more about her books on her website, located at: www.eve-tal.com.
Milk and Honey Press books are distributed by, and can be ordered online from, EKS Publishing Company.
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