Black Radishes and Skating with the Statue of Liberty

Black Radishes (Black Radishes, #1)Black Radishes
by Susan Lynn Meyer
Grades 4 & up

Gustave has always considered himself French before anything else, but in the Spring of 1940 it is clear that others are seeing him as more Jewish than French. The Nazi troops are getting closer to France and anti-Semitism is rising within the country as well. His parents close their shop in Paris and move to the small town of Saint-Georges, hoping to find a safe haven in the country. When the Germans do invade, they are just on the correct side of the demarcation line, but safety is relative in the unoccupied zone. And what of the friends and family they left behind in Paris? This moving and nerve-wracking tale of the Holocaust experience of French Jews will keep readers turning the pages and hoping for the best. Based on the author’s father’s experiences. Highly recommended for grades 4 & up.

Skating with the Statue of Liberty (Black Radishes, #2)Skating with the Statue of Liberty
by Susan Lynn Meyer
Grades 4 & up

In this sequel to Black Radishes, Gustave and his family have escaped Nazi-occupied France and made it to America just in time. Settling into New York is much different than he expected it to be. He must learn to navigate a new city with a new language and different cultural expectations. Although he did not expect to see it, he faces discrimination as a both a Jew and a foreigner. Things get worse as he makes friends with an African-American girl and sees the restrictions that are placed on both her family and their friendship. The juxtaposition of this against what he just escaped in Europe should be jarring to all young Americans who read this book. Ultimately a hopeful story, Gustave’s eyes are open to both the potential and the problems he sees in America. Highly recommended to grades 4 & up. (I suggest reading Black Radishes first to fully appreciate Gustave’s story.)

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