cover image The Boy from Over There

The Boy from Over There

Tamar Bergman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH), $13.95 (180pp) ISBN 978-0-395-43077-4

This potent book about children living through Israel's war for independence is set on a kibbutz in the Jordan Valley. Young Rina waits in vain for her father to return from World War II. Avramik, a boy who lived through the war in Europe, is brought to the kibbutz by his uncle and, like Rina, dreams that his parent (this time, his mother) has not been killed. Avramik and Rina share a special bond, each aware of the other's pain. Life on the kibbutz has its turbulence: Rami, Avramik's cousin, is jealous of the time Avramik spends with Rami's father; the children argue over who should care for a puppy that comes to live with them. But all differences seem trivial when the events of the 1948 conflict involve the kibbutz, and Avramik must lead the children to safety. Bergman develops strong characters, and recreates kibbutz life in rich detail with vigorous images. Halkin's smooth, lively translation illuminates this moving novel about children and war. Ages 8-12. (April)