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Under the Domin Tree book coverWhat the Book is About:

Twelve-year-old Ted’s not much of a student, but he’s a whiz at computer games. Especially escape games. When he inherits the contents of his namesake great uncle’s apartment, he and his two friends are drawn into a complicated mystery around Great Uncle Ted’s experiences as an Asian American soldier during WWII. This fast-paced and thrilling book will delight young readers as Ted and his friends try to solve the puzzle before the bad guys.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Ted identifies as Asian Jewish. His dad is Jewish and his mom is from Hawaii, and his Asian Jewish heritage is mentioned several times. When a classmate teases Ted that he’s not really Jewish, Ted’s dad tells him how lucky he is to be a combination of two ancient and proud cultures.
  • Mrs. Krausz, a patient at the hospital, reminds Ted of his older Jewish relatives. When she suggests that his family comes to her temple and says there are other Asian Jewish families there, he likes the idea and says he will tell his parents.
  • There are several references to art and jewelry stolen from Jews during WWII

Positive Role Models

  • Ted’s a persistent and clever character who is willing to “go for broke” to solve the puzzle. He protects his friends from the bad guys and generously chooses to donate his inheritance from Great Uncle Ted to two charities, one Japanese and one Jewish

Content Advisory

There is some mild violence -- Ted and his friends are threatened by a man with a sharp knife -- and near-swearing, like $#%#@. There is a reference to gold teeth melted down from Jewish people slain in concentration camps.

Talk it Over

When Ted meets Isabel he finds her annoyingly “perfect.” Later, they become friends. Have you ever been wrong about a first impression?

More For You

Jewish life in Hawaii mostly began in the 1850s as a collateral effect of the California Gold Rush. Dramatic increases in population spurred demand for fresh Hawaiian produce, inspiring Jewish merchants to settle in the area. More recently, Jewish singer and actress Bette Midler was born and raised in Hawaii, and the island’s most well-known Jewish resident today is probably actress Roseanne Barr. There are currently over seven thousand Jews living in Hawaii.