The Length of a String (Hardcover)
Imani is adopted, and she's ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way.
Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she's black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom's grandmother--Imani's great-grandma Anna--passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It's Anna's diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna's diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.
About the Author
Elissa Brent Weissman is the award-winning author of several middle grade novels, including the Nerd Camp series, and the editor of Our Story Begins, an anthology of writing and art by today's kids' book creators back when they were kids themselves. She is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and earned a Master's degree in children's literature at Roehampton University in London. Named one of CBS Baltimore's Best Authors in Maryland, Elissa lives with her family in Baltimore, where she teaches creative writing to children, college students, and adults.
Praise for The Length of a String
Sydney Taylor Honor Book, awarded by the Association of Jewish Libraries
Tablet Magazine's Best Jewish Children's Books of 2018
“Told in two voices which Weissman weaves together like a double helix, this is a story of family ties, some of which are broken by war, some broken by choice, some broken by unanswered questions. But by the end, readers will see that love and faith—from strangers, from friends, and from long-gone ancestors—have the power to knit us together with strings that are so much stronger than genetics. I loved this sweet refuge of a book.” —Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Underneath and The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp
“You’ll yearn with this wonderful heroine as she searches for long-ago Anna and her own hidden past. The characters are unforgettable, and the ending is entirely satisfying. A book readers will love; I know I did.” —Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Lily’s Crossing
“The Length of a String is a resounding continuum of connection and search for self. As universal as it is personal. A must read.” —Rita Williams-Garcia, Newbery Honor-winning author of One Crazy Summer
“Weissman’s newest adds to her oevre of middle-grade novels featuring smart kids learning life lessons.” —Booklist
“Pair this with Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars for Jewish historical fiction with heart. An excellent addition with strong curricular ties.” —School Library Journal
“Both Anna and Imani are richly drawn characters, complex and sympathetic. . . . [A] moving, deftly plotted story.” —Publishers Weekly
“The reader watches as [Imani] deepens her understanding of who she is and the world around her—page by page, emotion by emotion. . . . Highly recommended.” —Jewish Book Council
The powerhouse that is Jason Reynolds is already immensely powerful and impactful in his written words alone. But this graphic novel adaptation of Jason’s “Long Way Down” is powerful in a spectacular new way with the watercolor artwork of Danica Novgorodoff. This story joins us with Will, as his brother is killed before him, and Will sets out to do what he has to do, according to The Rules—take the life of the one who killed his brother. The bulk of the story takes place over 60-seconds—60 life-changing seconds—as Will rides an elevator down to see this man who killed his brother, and the very cycle of violence permeating his life unfolds before him… “Long Way Down” is so incredibly worth taking time to sit with, to be with. This story is important, this story is power and knowledge, this story is a breath of hope and a voice of love. Take a deep breath and let this book wash over you.
(Young Adults 14+ to Adults) - reviewed by Isabel