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The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah Hardcover – March 25, 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Caroline, who has been raised in a nonreligious household by her Jewish mom and non-Jewish dad, inherits a Star of David necklace when her beloved Nana dies. At the same time, her best friend, Rachel, is preparing for her bat mitzvah, prompting Caroline to question her own religious identity and wonder if she should request her own coming-of-age ceremony. Spanning the fall of seventh grade, Caroline recounts the minutiae of her upper-middle-class suburban life (focusing on friendships, boys, misunderstandings, and cliques), with frequent flashbacks to memories of Nana. Readers will identify with Caroline and her preoccupations; and, although Baskin doesn’t really touch upon the realities of preparing for a bat mitzvah, the solution to Caroline’s quandary (because her mother is Jewish she automatically becomes a bat mitzvah when she turns 12—even without a ceremony) makes an apt conclusion for the story. This quick read will be a hit with preteens contemplating their own identities. For another book about a child grappling with religious affiliation, suggest Ilene Cooper’s Sam I Am (2004). Grades 5-8. --Kay Weisman

About the Author

Nora Raleigh Baskin was chosen as a Publishers Weekly Flying Start for her novel What Every Girl (Except Me) Knows. She is the author of novels for middle-graders and teens, including  The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah and Anything But Typical, which won the ALA Schneider Family Award. Nora lives in Golden's Bridge, New York. Visit her online at norabaskin.com.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 630L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers (March 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416935584
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416935582
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,145,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah deserves a place on the Amazon bestseller list. It is that good! Nora Raleigh Baskin has written the story of a 12-year-old girl's search for self that will resonate with all readers of any age and of any faith. It will stay in your heart after you finish your second reading because when you close the book the first time, you will immediately start reading again so you can admire the author's craft and spend more time with these characters. You will want to talk about the ideas in this book and celebrate Caroline's connections to her family, friends, and her past. The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah is a celebration of Jewish traditions, and in that context, Nora Raleigh Baskin has written about the universal quest for identity. She takes an honest, humorous, and touching look at all things that are important: teenagers, parents, siblings, friends, school, relationships, respect, acceptance, love, and the wonder of grandparents. Even after she is gone, Caroline's Nana continues to teach her through the countless links to the past symbolized in the Star of David necklace that she leaves for her. It is this gift that leads Caroline to question, to learn, and come to treasure her connection to the past and where it will lead her in the future. This book would be a wonderful selection for any book group, especially a mother-daughter or teen book club. It would also be a great choice for literature circles in the classroom. Read The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah for the sheer joy of a well-told, compelling story. Buy a copy for someone you love!
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Format: Hardcover
For most children, cultural and religious identity is clear-cut; they are what their parents are. But for children of interreligious or multicultural families, it can be a bit confusing, especially if the backgrounds of the parents are seemingly at odds. In THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BAT MITZVAH, Nora Raleigh Baskin explores the issue of identity through the story of 12-year-old Caroline.

Caroline's father is Christian and her mother is Jewish. In their home they observe both Christian and Jewish holidays but pay slightly more attention to the Christian ones. Caroline's best friend Rachel, who is Jewish, has spent the past year studying for her bat mitzvah. Caroline has been helping her plan the party that comes after the synagogue ritual. She is happy for Rachel as this major milestone approaches and is not overly concerned with the fact that her family isn't just one religion or another.

But when her nana, her mother's mother, with whom she was very close, dies, this delicate balance is upset. Her grandfather gives her one of her grandmother's necklaces, a star of David on a thin chain, and this piece of jewelry becomes a symbol --- not only of her mother's family's faith, but also of her own struggle to understand who she is, what she believes and how she will express herself.

As she learns more about her grandparents and parents and their religious beliefs and cultural identification, Caroline begins to, for the first time, really feel herself to be Jewish. She is conflicted, though; she doesn't want to be disloyal to her father, and her beliefs are less developed than Rachel's are. While wrestling with these ideas and emotions, she is still mourning the loss of her grandmother and navigating the complicated world of junior high.
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Format: Hardcover
For most children, cultural and religious identity is clear-cut; they are what their parents are. But for children of interreligious or multicultural families, it can be a bit confusing, especially if the backgrounds of the parents are seemingly at odds. In THE TRUTH ABOUT MY BAT MITZVAH, Nora Raleigh Baskin explores the issue of identity through the story of 12-year-old Caroline.

Caroline's father is Christian and her mother is Jewish. In their home they observe both Christian and Jewish holidays but pay slightly more attention to the Christian ones. Caroline's best friend Rachel, who is Jewish, has spent the past year studying for her bat mitzvah. Caroline has been helping her plan the party that comes after the synagogue ritual. She is happy for Rachel as this major milestone approaches and is not overly concerned with the fact that her family isn't just one religion or another.

But when her nana, her mother's mother, with whom she was very close, dies, this delicate balance is upset. Her grandfather gives her one of her grandmother's necklaces, a star of David on a thin chain, and this piece of jewelry becomes a symbol --- not only of her mother's family's faith, but also of her own struggle to understand who she is, what she believes and how she will express herself.

As she learns more about her grandparents and parents and their religious beliefs and cultural identification, Caroline begins to, for the first time, really feel herself to be Jewish. She is conflicted, though; she doesn't want to be disloyal to her father, and her beliefs are less developed than Rachel's are. While wrestling with these ideas and emotions, she is still mourning the loss of her grandmother and navigating the complicated world of junior high.
Read more ›
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