cover image Buba Leah and Her Paper Children

Buba Leah and Her Paper Children

Lillian Hammer Ross. Jewish Publication Society of America, $17.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8276-0375-2

With its Fiddler on the Roof setting and unabashedly sentimental story line, this warmly evocative tale presents a glimpse of the Jewish immigrant experience. Chava is curious about her next-door neighbor and great-aunt, Buba Leah. She's often heard her say how she exchanged her offspring for ``paper children.'' When Chava finally musters her courage to ask about them, she finds they aren't actual children, but the letters written to Buba Leah by her children in America. One day a letter arrives containing two tickets--one for Buba Leah and one for Chava--and, in a poignant finale, the two depart for a new life. Chava's parents are left with Buba Leah's empty wooden box, which they will soon fill with their own ``paper children.'' Ross's simple story is as satisfying as Sabbath challah, and Morgan's earthy illustrations render village life and the special bonds between family members in an affectionate light. Ages 5-8. (July)