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The Golden Diary

Teenager Assaf is brought to a rundown children’s institution at the beginning of the summer holidays in the early 1950s. There is Chibi, a shy child-refugee from Europe; tough, violent Rami, another European refugee, who takes care of his small brother “the fly;” Dina, a Moroccan immigrant abandoned by her father, and Assaf himself, a wizard storyteller whose parents disappeared in the camps in Europe. The spirited, resilient group of children have been left behind in the home during the summer. They call themselves “the dregs,” the ones nobody wants, but although each child has suffered great personal disaster, the elements of tragedy are kept in the background; in the foreground is an adventure story. Assaf moves into Chibi’s room. He gathers a group around him because of his remarkable talent for storytelling. The nephew of an archaeologist, Assaf is fascinated by a nearby archaeological site and concocts tales about a civilization where the moon-worshipping queens bear the mark of Cain. His fascination is taken one step further when he is convinced that the site conceals a gold shipment stolen from a German transport during World War I. The story of the German officer, the Arab guide who led him to the site, and Assaf’s uncle, who knows the secret of the gold, develops into a full-blown quest for treasure. Assaf’s suspicions that gold is near are substantiated by the inexplicable incidences of Arab infiltrators seen digging at the site. Swearing Chibi to secrecy, the two begin to dig for gold, a decision which has far-reaching consequences involving an exploding mortar shell, treasure beyond anyone’s imagination, the local museum and the children’s future at the home. This is a vital story beautifully told by one of Israel’s leading novelists.

Title The Golden Diary
Writer's Last Name Schutz
Writer's First Name David
Genre Children
Ages 12-16
Publisher (Hebrew) Domino
No. Pages 181pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Yoman Ha-Zahav