Gr 8 Up–A growing number of Ethiopian Jews, known as Beta Israel, relocate to Israel for a better life. To do so, they must travel more than 600 miles by foot across the desert, fighting thirst, scorpions, disease, and violent soldiers. This novel is based on the true story of 13-year-old Wuditu, one of the thousands who attempted this journey. Separated from her family after her father and sister take ill, this courageous girl (nicknamed “Giraffe” because of her long neck and stately composure) must fend for herself. Before she makes it to Israel, she is enslaved for two years. Oron's novel exposes the injustice and degradation girls face around the world. Wuditu is held captive and raped, but manages to escape a life of prostitution. This book is less graphic than Patricia McCormick's Sold (Hyperion, 2006), a novel of child prostitution in Nepal and for a younger audience, but it is sobering nonetheless. Canadian journalist Oron, who rescued the young girl on whom Wuditu's character is based, writes her story in precise, formal prose, sympathetic yet distant. Her journalistic stance serves the story better during dramatic refugee scenes than during the quieter early chapters about life in the village. However, this is an example of masterful storytelling. Each chapter is skillfully organized and perfectly paced. The author weaves foreign words seamlessly into the narrative, defining them through context and never slowing down the story with exposition. Readers learn a great deal about Ethiopia while they are caught up in a riveting story.–Jess deCourcy Hinds, Bard High School Early College Queens, Long Island City, NY. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Beginning with a long historical note, this searing novel tells the story of Ethiopian Jews’ perilous emigration to Israel during the 1970s from the viewpoint of a young teen. Discriminated against in their Ethiopian village, Wuditu, 13, and her family join other Jewish families on the arduous journey to Sudan, where, in a squalid refugee camp, they hope to join secret, Israeli-arranged flights to Jerusalem. Then Wuditu’s family is split apart, and Wuditu and her sister are sent back to Ethiopia, where Wuditu is sold into slavery and prostitution. Oron, a journalist with extensive knowledge of Ethiopia’s Beta Israel Jewish population, based this first-person narrative on the experiences of her adopted Ethiopian daughters, and her telling of family members’ stories that are so closely based on fact may raise questions for some. But like Patricia McCormick’s Sold (2006), Oron’s novel shows with brutal, unflinching detail the horrors of refugee life and child slavery and the shocking vulnerability of young females in the developing world, and she offers a sobering introduction to a community and historical episodes rarely covered in books for youth. Grades 9-12. --Gillian Engberg --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Editorial Reviews
This aspect of the retrieval of Ethiopian Jewry from a life of hardship and fear in Ethiopia has been overlooked. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Sally Esakov
It was interesting to learn that some early Jews were dark-skinned. This is a good depiction of the human trafficking of women and how one young woman was saved from a life of... Read morePublished 19 months ago by Gloria Glenn
It was a very fast to read book, and a wonderful true story. Very sad of what happened to many Jews who fled EtheiopiaPublished on July 22, 2013 by Hed