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Greenhorn (Book) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Page Count: 48
 
Author:
 
Year Published:
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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Relatable for kids.

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Difficult subject matter


Final Fiendish Findings?

Greenhorn is a powerful story of the horrors of the Holocaust, and the healing power of friendship. Two boys from very different lives come together in a story as old as time – a tale of friendship. Due to the subject matter, parents should use their own discretion as to how and when they introduce the subject of the Holocaust, but for those who are ready, Greenhorn does a great job of introducing the subject in a way they can understand and relate to.

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Posted June 13, 2013 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings...
 
 

Greenhorn is a heart wrenching tale that takes you inside the unlikely friendship of two young boys.

Aaron is a young Jewish boy attending a boarding school in Brooklyn in 1946. He is often teased by the other boys because of his pronounced stutter, but Aaron is still confident in himself and proud of his family back in New Jersey. As the book begins, Aaron and his classmates are told by their tearful Rabbi that a new group of twenty boys will be joining the school. All of the new boys have come from Poland, and all of them have lost their parents to concentration camps.

Daniel, one of the Polish boys, has been assigned to live with Aaron and his two other roommates – brothers who delight in mocking Aaron for his speech impediment. Though the boys are mostly welcoming to Daniel, he is resolute and silent, bringing nothing with him other than a small tin box. Most of the short book centers around the growing friendship between Daniel and Aaron, and the mystery of what is inside Daniel’s beloved box.

If your kids are anything like mine, they know of the Holocaust – but on somewhat detached terms. After all, a tragedy on the scale of that one is really very hard for a young mind to grasp. What Greenhorn does, is take something that is so difficult to comprehend (even for adult minds) and makes it very real and relatable to the reader. Daniel and Aaron, their fast friendship, the mean kids in the school – even though they occur at a vastly different point in history, are things that kids can relate to on a personal level. And it is that very kinship that is developed that makes the reality of how profoundly awful the Holocaust was sink in when the contents of Daniel’s box was revealed.

Since Greenhorn is a book intended for children, I wanted to get a view of it from that perspective – so I asked my son to read through it and give me his thoughts. He was very impressed with the book right from the start, told me how it helped him learn things about the Holocaust that he never knew, and even recommended it to his younger brother – high praise indeed. I was a little concerned that he might be disturbed by the subject matter somewhat (the Holocaust is a disturbing subject all around).

Skill level wise, Greenhorn should be an easy read for kids eight and up without a problem. Content wise, though, is a different matter. While nothing is graphic, the thought of all those kids losing their parents, and the truth of what happened to them, will likely be very difficult for many kids to process. And yet, it is an important subject to bring up, and for parents ready to discuss it with their kids, Greenhorn opens the doors quite skillfully for a thoughtful discussion on the topic. I recommend that kids read it with their parents, with a parents at the ready to answer any and all questions.

Greenhorn is a powerful story of the horrors of the Holocaust, and the healing power of friendship. Two boys from very different lives come together in a story as old as time – a tale of friendship. Due to the subject matter, parents should use their own discretion as to how and when they introduce the subject of the Holocaust, but for those who are ready, Greenhorn does a great job of introducing the subject in a way they can understand and relate to.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)