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Becoming Gershona

Nava Semel
AGE 12 up

"Out of the blue, they told me Grandpa was coming the next day, and I never even knew I had a grandfather." This is how a young girl`s life changes when she starts to discover her family`s long-guarded secrets. Life in Tel Aviv in 1958 is full of mysteries for 12-year-old Gershona, beginning with the meaning of her unusual name and the reason her grandfather fled to America 35 years before. Gershona spends the hot Israeli summer puzzling out the past, and discovers the lingering impact that the Holocaust has had on her family, in fact on everyone in her community. She soon understands that the Holocaust explains the blue numbers tattooed on her mother`s forearm, why she has only two grandparents, and why her grandfather deserted his wife and infant son. Although many of the truths she uncovers are unpleasant, her spirit and vitality make this book hopeful and uplifting.

Becoming Gershona
Title Becoming Gershona
Author’s Last Name Semel
Author's First Name Nava
Language(s) English, German, Italian, Dutch, Romanian
Genre youth
Publisher (Hebrew) Am Oved
Year of Publication (Hebrew) 1988
No. Pages 118 pp.
Book title - Hebrew (phonetic) Gershona-Shona
Representation Represented by ITHL


English: New York, Viking Penguin, 1990; pback: New York, Puffin (Penguin), 1992
Italian: Florence, La Casa Usher, 1990; pback: Verona, Mondadori, 1999
German: Frankfurt, Alibaba, 1993; pback: Frankfurt, Fischer, 1995; 2004; 2005
Romanian: Bucharest, Fiat Lux, 1995
Dutch: Baarn, Fontein, 2000

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