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The Backyard Secrets of Danny Wexler

What do UFOs, space aliens, and the Bermuda Triangle have in common with Danny Wexler’s piano teacher? Read this book to find out!
Ages 10+
Pages 248
Publisher Kar-Ben
Coming Jun 2022
Awards
PJ Our Way Author Incentive Award Winner

Average Rating

31 Reviews
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What the Book Is About

It’s 1978, and 11-year-old Danny Wexler is the only Jewish boy in his blue-collar town. When he learns about the Bermuda Triangle just as a local child goes missing, Danny and his friends Frank and Nicholas set out to solve the mystery.
 
Meanwhile, Danny’s father has always been passed over for promotions because he’s Jewish. When he finally does get a “pity promotion,” the antisemitism in town increases. Danny’s friend Nicholas isn’t supposed to hang out with him anymore, bully Joey calls him Matzah Boy, and Danny’s father is beaten up at work.
 
Just as Danny is starting to learn the difference between imaginary threats and real dangers, a chemical explosion at the factory brings the community together and helps neighbors move beyond their suspicion and fear. This fast-paced story offers an age-appropriate and engaging story about the experience of being “othered,” and the anchoring power of friendship.
 

Jewish Content & Values

  • Danny’s family is Jewish, and they have challah with dinner every Friday night. Danny’s mother is a nurse, and her willingness to care for everyone who was injured in the explosion – including those who had treated her family poorly – is an example of the Jewish values of chesed (kindness) and kavod (respect).
  • Mrs. Albertini, Danny’s elderly neighbor, is Jewish. Her conversations with Danny are an example of l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. Mrs. Albertini cooks Friday night dinner for all the factory workers in honor of Shabbat.

Content Advisory

A child who was allegedly kidnapped in a nearby town is central to Danny’s story about aliens and the Bermuda Triangle. There is nothing graphic, and at the end of the story we learn that the child had run away from home and is now safe. Antisemitism is also a central theme. Danny’s friend Nicholas isn’t allowed to play with him at one point, and the school bully calls him Matzah Boy. Danny’s father is repeatedly passed over for a promotion because he is Jewish. After he finally gets the promotion, he’s harassed at work and comes home with a black eye on two separate occasions.
What the Book Is About

What the Book Is About

It’s 1978, and 11-year-old Danny Wexler is the only Jewish boy in his blue-collar town. When he learns about the Bermuda Triangle just as a local child goes missing, Danny and his friends Frank and Nicholas set out to solve the mystery.
 
Meanwhile, Danny’s father has always been passed over for promotions because he’s Jewish. When he finally does get a “pity promotion,” the antisemitism in town increases. Danny’s friend Nicholas isn’t supposed to hang out with him anymore, bully Joey calls him Matzah Boy, and Danny’s father is beaten up at work.
 
Just as Danny is starting to learn the difference between imaginary threats and real dangers, a chemical explosion at the factory brings the community together and helps neighbors move beyond their suspicion and fear. This fast-paced story offers an age-appropriate and engaging story about the experience of being “othered,” and the anchoring power of friendship.
 

Jewish Content & Values

  • Danny’s family is Jewish, and they have challah with dinner every Friday night. Danny’s mother is a nurse, and her willingness to care for everyone who was injured in the explosion – including those who had treated her family poorly – is an example of the Jewish values of chesed (kindness) and kavod (respect).
  • Mrs. Albertini, Danny’s elderly neighbor, is Jewish. Her conversations with Danny are an example of l’dor v’dor, from generation to generation. Mrs. Albertini cooks Friday night dinner for all the factory workers in honor of Shabbat.

Content Advisory

A child who was allegedly kidnapped in a nearby town is central to Danny’s story about aliens and the Bermuda Triangle. There is nothing graphic, and at the end of the story we learn that the child had run away from home and is now safe. Antisemitism is also a central theme. Danny’s friend Nicholas isn’t allowed to play with him at one point, and the school bully calls him Matzah Boy. Danny’s father is repeatedly passed over for a promotion because he is Jewish. After he finally gets the promotion, he’s harassed at work and comes home with a black eye on two separate occasions.