A Girl from There
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More About This Title A Girl from There
Truly an artistic experience, the short, concise poems in this collection are composed of the memory fragments of a girl who grew up in the shadow of war and persecution. The journey begins with a small baby covered with flakes of whitewash when a bomb explodes beside her. Born into an intolerable and lawless world, this "white baby" relates the tale of a childhood in which "hide and seek" is life's reality and not a game, and the word "mother" is both a luxury and longing. The book's subtle and delicate language reflects a difficult and isolated reality and is accompanied by illustrations which complete the somber, dream-like atmosphere.
Chava Nissimov was born in 1939 in Warsaw, Poland. She escaped from the ghetto with her mother and grew up "behind the wardrobe" during World War II, and later as a "golah-child" on a kibbutz. She works in an organization that helps Holocaust survivors claim their reparations. Dvora Bekker Aviezer has a BA from the University of Chicago in Human Development and an MA from Tel Aviv University in Educational Counselling. She has translated professional articles and a book of children's poetry from Hebrew. She has also lectured about Special Education in several colleges in Israel and worked as an educational counselor. Ofra Amit is an illustrator who has won many Israeli awards as well as numerous international prizes including the prestigious Andersen prize.
"Chava Nissmov's A Girl From There is a singular work of art and testimony. Its short poems recall moments of a long struggle . . . . The power of the original Hebrew is retained in the excellent translation by Dvora Bekker Aviezer and Linda Stern. The strength of the work is that it raises questions, rather than answering them, provokes conversation without joining it, [and] traverses time by jumping from here to there. Nissimov has given us a work of power, simplicity, and dignity, a book that can be read in an hour, but whose words must be savored and whose memories will remain with us forever." —Professor Michael Berenbaum, Director, United States Holocaust Museum's Research Institute, Washington, D.C."These poems describe what it feels like to be an adult who, when she was a child of three, was given away for safekeeping by her mother to a Polish neighbor, and whose mother taught her how to pretend to be a Christian before she left . . . .There are more gems like these in this book and they can teach us, not only about the awfulness of the Holocaust, but about how to balance the innocence of the child within with the realism of the adult we now are." —Jack Riemer, author, Ethical Wills: How to Read Them and How to Write Them"The author’s disjointed childhood memories spill out in clear, animated poetic verse and are linked together, carrying the reader chronologically from Chava’s earliest memories through a dark, silent childhood filled with sickness and fear until the end of WWII." —Charles Weinblatt, nyjournalofbooks.com