The Length of a String

Elissa Brent Weissman. Dial, $16.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-73522-9471
Twelve-year-old Imani is preparing for her bat mitzvah and working up the courage to ask her parents for the gift she wants: their help searching for her birth parents. As one of the only black kids in her Baltimore community, Imani is used to insensitive questions about her background and Judaism, and she longs to connect with the biological family who share her DNA. When she discovers her great-grandmother Anna’s diary of her journey from Luxembourg to Brooklyn to escape the Nazis, she finds a kindred spirit. Interspersed journal entries detail Anna’s story: she was the first of her siblings to leave the family, though her parents planned for the others, including Anna’s twin, to follow. Anna was taken in by a kind couple, paralleling Imani’s adoption, but yearned for the day her first family would arrive. Readers and Imani know, though, that Anna’s family was sent to the camps, lending a grave undercurrent to her hopeful narration. Both Anna and Imani are richly drawn characters, complex and sympathetic. Imani gains insight from Anna that helps her decide what she truly needs to know about her past, in this moving, deftly plotted story. Ages 10–14. Agent: Flip Brophy, Sterling Lord Literistic. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/26/2018
Release date: 05/01/2018
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-7352-2948-8
Library Binding - 444 pages - 978-1-4328-7364-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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