Your PJ Our Way Books for January

Posted January 01, 2020  | Written by PJ Our Way Team

Check out PJ Our Way’s choices for January! Follow the heartfelt story of an Israeli girl facing challenges at her new school; join a Dutch boy’s perilous adventure after a shipwreck in Spain; read about someone who struggles with her identity while applying to a prestigious art school; or find out how one kid’s newfound interest in running changes his life in more ways than one. Whether you’re interested in contemporary or historical fiction, arts or sports, school or travel, you’re sure to find a book to enjoy this month. Be sure to make your choice by January 10th!

Too Far From Home book cover

Too Far From Home By Naomi Shmuel

Ages 9+

48 pages

Meskerem’s mother just got a big promotion at work, so her family must relocate from Katzin, her small hometown, to Hertzliya, a large city in central Israel. Leaving her beloved grandmother and childhood friends behind, Meskerem begins fifth grade at the local school. Meskerem’s father emigrated from America, while her mom was born in Ethiopia. Although Meskerem is a native Israeli, the other kids immediately assume that she’s one of the new immigrants who just arrived on Operation Solomon, the much-publicized airlift evacuation of Ethiopian Jews from the Sudan. Their insensitive and racist comments make Meskerem feel ashamed and confused about her heritage; thus, she impulsively declares that she’s American. Eventually, she learns to appreciate and take pride in her rich and diverse Jewish, Ethiopian, and American identity while earning her classmates’ respect and friendship. This sweet book is translated from the Hebrew and won the Anderson Award as well as a commendation by the Zeev prize committee in Israel.

The Secret of Carlos Romanus book cover

The Secret of Carlos Romanus By Esther Kosofsky

Ages: 9+

148 pages

Fifteen-year-old Moshe Levi is the head of his family now that his father has died. But on his very first business trip from Amsterdam to Africa, Moshe is shipwrecked in Spain, where the powerful Catholic Inquisition have expelled all the Jews, forcing Moshe to hide his Jewish identity. Using his extensive knowledge of Jewish traditions and keen powers of observation, he manages to find a secret Passover Seder and befriend a local Jewish family. Kids will enjoy this easy-to-read, fast-paced story about Moshe’s adventures, and they’ll gain a unique perspective on Jewish life in Spain during the 17th century.

OyMG book cover

OyMG By Amy Fellner Dominy

Ages: 11+

256 pages

Ellie Taylor’s dream is to attend the prestigious Benedict’s Conservatory of Arts and Academics and join the best speech team in the country. Benedict’s is a private school that is expensive, competitive, and Christian, but Ellie has a plan. She enrolls in the school’s summer camp, hoping to earn herself a place and a full scholarship by winning the final competition. Ellie soon discovers, however, that although her religion shouldn’t matter, it does to Mrs. Doris Yeats, the benefactor sponsoring the scholarship. Ellie ultimately decides that her Jewish identity is something to be proud of, no matter what.

Sidetracked Book Cover

Sidetracked By Diana Harmon Asher

Ages: 9+

233 pages

Between his Attention Deficit Disorder and other various phobias, seventh grader Joseph Friedman’s ability to achieve academic and social success in middle school is compromised, to say the least. When his resource room teacher encourages him to sign up for track, he’s certain that the experience will be traumatic and temporary. But as Joseph becomes part of the team and works on improving his own personal record, he soon learns that no matter how terrible a runner you are, you can always improve. Joseph’s self-deprecating and earnest voice makes this well-crafted book a delightful and heartwarming choice for readers of all ages. Kids will be inspired to root for Joseph and to find the best within themselves.

What do you think of this month’s books? Comment below to let us know.

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