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The Storyteller's Beads

By: Jane Kurtz

Historical Fiction

Sahay and Rahel are all alone, traveling through strange and dangerous territory in Ethiopia, trying to reach Jerusalem. They are both brave, but is bravery enough to survive?

Ages: 11+

160 pages

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Average Rating: (3 Ratings)

Submitted 3/8/2017 by reading

Learned sooo much
Submitted 1/8/2017 by lovebaseball

Thumbs up!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

I didn't know anything about what happened in Ethiopia until I read this book. You would also learn a lot if you read this.

Two girls become amazing friends
Submitted 3/1/2015 by Design Team

By Annabel, 9, IL Design Team

The Storyteller’s Beads, written by Jane Kurtz, starts out in Ethiopia after the Red Terror, which is when Mengistu Haile Mariam killed Ethiopians in 1977-1978. Then two little Ethiopian girls, Rahel and Sahay, travel to a camp (not a summer camp) called Umm Rekuba, where they get food and water. Both girls are there without their families, and together they take an iron bird (plane) to Jerusalem.

This book is about the two girls, who initially seem very different from one another. Rahel is a blind Falasha girl and Sahay is a Kemant. Falasha means “alien stranger”. Kemants are one of the ethnic divisions of the Agau people. The two groups didn’t have much to do with one another back in Ethiopia, but the girls become friends during their journey. During their long walk through the deserts and forests of Ethiopia and Sudan, they start telling each other stories about their lives and the folktales of their people. They find they need each other once they both lose their families. At the end, they make aliyah together.

Along the way, the girls change the way they think about other people, and learn not to judge others based on the tribe or people they come from. People should be looked at as individuals and not just as members of their family, tribe, or country. In my own life, I will always try to remember Rahel and Sahay, and how they found an amazing friendship amidst such turmoil in their lives. They lost their homes, families, and country, but they still found a way to find friendship and start a new life in Jerusalem.

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Jane Kurtz

Author of The Storyteller's Beads

"Read, read, read...fall in love with words, stories and books."

Jane Kurtz was born in Oregon, but when she was two years-old, her parents moved to Ethiopia where she grew up without television, radio or movies! She and her sisters loved to make up stories and act them out. Jane also loved climbing mountains and wading in rivers. She still loves being outdoors, even if it is just in her own backyard. Jane also loves reading, writing, music, and being with family. A lot of Jane’s ideas for her books come from her memories, observations, and research on topics she wants to know more about.

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