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The Bell Maiden

Nava Semel
AGE: 8-11

Connie is flying to Beijing with her father, Israel’s next ambassador to China. But China seems so strange and far away,  she’s scared that her friends in Israel will forget her. To distract her, her father gives her a little Chinese gong, and it tells her a magical story inspired by an ancient Chinese folk-tale.
Kuan-Yu is the most famous gong maker in China. The secret of sound was handed down to him by an ancestor who had saved a nightingale from captivity, and his young daughter Qong-Gey assists him in the workshop. When Kuan-Yu’s fame reaches the Imperial palace, the Empress is terribly jealous and she hatches a plot against him: she gets the Emperor to order Kuan-Yu to cast a gong with the most  beautiful sound ever heard. If he fails, he will be executed. The gong maker blends copper, silver and gold, but his first two attempts are a failure. So Qong-Gey seeks advice from the Goddess of Fire -- the goddess tells her that the gong will only ring if human blood is added to the mix. As the gong maker prepares to cast the precious metals for his third attempt, Qong-Gey jumps into the blazing furnace and the perfect sound floats out. But Connie can’t accept this sad ending: she intervenes and changes it, bringing Qong-Gey back to life. And so, the little Israeli  girl rescues the Chinese girl!
An enchanting and moving story that brings two cultures together.

Illustrations: Zagny Ormut-Durbin


An utterly gorgeous book, full of inspiration and imagination - of all that brings people together. 

Prof. Nurit Govrin


A book for all age groups, marvelous, magical, exciting and inspiring. The illustrations are dizzyingly beautiful. Pure pleasure.

Author Yochi Brandes


A beautiful book. I was enthralled, and I read it with excitement and admiration. Perfection of both content and form, complete utilization of the beauty and wisdom of a literary work. A book extremely rich in the content that it conveys, and so heart-warming in the feelings that it arouses. Absolute beauty.   

Author Dorit Orgad


A wonderful author. In her writing, a refined charm mixed with great love is always prevalent, captivating the heart of the reader. How lovely, how highly recommendable. Run out and buy it.

Author Adiva Geffen

The Bell Maiden will take the reader on an engrossing and exhausting journey through the halls of imagination and emotion … A wealth of turnabouts and  suspenseful moments, up to the surprising ending … An enchanting and unique legend … With a craftsperson’s hand, Semel leads the reader to the understanding that happiness is the art of the possible and that part of the beauty of life entails pain, blemish, and imperfection.

Mor Dvorkin-Fogelman, Achbar Ha'Ir

A brief recommendation: A beautiful book for kids,  and not only for kids … The lovely illustrations are truly breathtaking … An optimistic fable that won’t do us adults any harm either.

Tsippy Gon-Gross, IDF Radio

The author always finds the way to different places, to other worlds, to touch the readers’ hearts and to arouse insights beyond place and time.

Author Ofra Gelbart-Avni


A book that I admire greatly. Replete with uniqueness. Beautiful illustrations. Encourages children to read it.

Shmuel Shay, Kol Israel


An enchanting book with illustrations that make the heart tremble.

Yehiam Padan,


A moving book, poetic and delicate, that links legend with reality… I very much enjoyed reading it very. Although it’s meant for kids, their parents will also enjoy it.

Iaffa Gavish, Saloona


A lovely book.

Rivka Michaeli, Radio 103.FM


A wise book … Nava Semel touches upon material that is not simple and the outcome is good, but complicated… In fairytales, everything may work out, but the sad Israeli child in the story learns new things and moves on. 

Sivan Rahav-Meir, IDF Radio

Title The Bell Maiden
Author’s Last Name Semel
Author's First Name Nava
Language(s) Hebrew
Genre children
Publisher (Hebrew) Dani Sfarim
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 2015
No. Pages 78 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Yaldat Ha-Pa'amon
Representation Represented by ITHL
Congratulations to Zeruya Shalev and Shifra Horn for receiving the 2017 Adei Wizo Prize.

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen's "Waking Lions" is longlisted for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award
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The second edition of the Letters of Israel festival will take place in Paris from September 8 to 18, 2017
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Call for application: Artists in Residence Programme in Austria. Please note the deadline: September 18th, 2017.
In co-operation with KulturKontakt Austria, the Austrian Federal Chancellery makes available 50 residencies to visual artists / art photographers / composers / video and media artists / writers / literary translators and arts and cultural educators in Vienna and Salzburg for the year 2018. For more details:
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Yitzchak Mayer's personal website goes live
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Gundar-Goshen's Op-Ed for Time
To mark the US publication of "Waking Lions" Ayelet Gundar-Goshen talks about the refugee crisis, internal walls and people behind them in the op-ed for Time. Click here to read the article.
MHL - New webzine starting soon!