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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: (19 Ratings)

A magnificent book
Submitted 9/1/2017 by Violinist123

The author 2 different points of views on Ethiopian Jews. I learned much from reading this book. Very well written and for anyone who loves a good tale, this is the book to read. 😉

This Book is Awesome
Submitted 8/26/2017 by inventingmind

Thumbs up!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

This book is really cool! I learned a lot about about the Ethiopian famine of the 80s. I also learned different words from some of the Ethiopian language. My favorite is ayesosh, meaning be strong. If you are looking for a fun book to read, this is the one!

Submitted 8/9/2017 by booksandfish

Thumbs up!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

Submitted 8/2/2017 by familyoffive

I would read more books by this author.

This book made me think more about friendship.

I think it was one of the most awesome books ever. It is about how one person from another religion helps a person from a different religion in a series of bad events that will make you cry, laugh, and sing with joy.

Submitted 7/10/2017 by KatyPink

I loved this book!

This book made me feel like i was in the book and was very interesting and fun!

Submitted 7/7/2017 by OzMan


This was a great book!
Submitted 6/20/2017 by bunnylover28

I loved this book!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

I think this was a great book because I thought it was a good way to learn about our history and it had great characters. Although I didn't give it 5 stars because they could of explained some things a bit more clearly.

Submitted 6/7/2017 by Ilovebunnies

I loved this book!

At first, I thought I wouldn't like this book, but now I realize that I was wrong with my expectations about the book, it's actually REALLY good! Definitely choose this book!

Submitted 6/6/2017 by weirdbuttrue3

I loved this book!

This book was sad at the beginning and VERY good at the end!!!!!

Submitted 5/7/2017 by archiedoodles

This book was just OK

This book made me think more about being Jewish.

I did NOT like this book. You kinda want have more than judaism and sadness. Show more fun in the book. I only expect geniuses who study judaism will like this stuff. I sometimes actually do read some of this stuff, and actually like it. But this is just boring. It's nice to have facts, but still some fun. It's absolutely fine to have joy when you write books. Just remember it's not all about facts, or fun. You should have a variety of things, not just those, but in the middle, too. Bring life to the book. Bring the heart you have to what you are writing. I hope saying this is bad isn't a insult to Jane Kurtz (the author). I'm not trying to be mean.It just seems like she doesn't have much experience. I am sure she could grow to be an awesome author, but those things take take time. You can't magically have a talent for something. Well, you always have the talent, but for you to see that incredible talent you must work. Work hard. But still remember to have that joy. Not just in the book, but you must be joyful. I hope to see much better books by Jane Kurtz. Jane Kurtz does have the talent. This book shows it. It just hasn't fully developed yet. Well, actually a talent can never be fully developed. According to me, you can always learn new things about your talent. But Jane Kurtz isn't close enough. But she is a very artistic author.

this book was really good
Submitted 5/4/2017 by Metsox34

I loved this book!

This book made me think more about being Jewish.

i liked this book because it was always entertaining

Submitted 5/2/2017 by zabinga

Thumbs up!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

I was very surprised by this book. I learned a lot about history and gained a new understanding and respect for Ethiopian Jews and other Ethiopian minorities.

Submitted 5/1/2017 by fashionwizard

I loved this book!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

Best book ever! I could not put this book down! Loved it so much! It really makes you feel grateful for what you have!

this was a wonderful book
Submitted 5/1/2017 by magnuva

I loved this book!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.

This book is totally worth reading! it was my first book ever from PJ our way. i loved this book it never got boring infact i have read it twice and am not bored. this is proably the best book to choose because you can see both points of view and please read it it is so touching in so many different ways hope you enjoy this book as much as i did!!!!!!

Submitted 4/24/2017 by HadasahV

I loved this book!

I learned more about Jewish history from this book.


awsome so realistic.
Submitted 4/19/2017 by SHS027

I loved this book!

This book made me think more about the importance of family.

this book was amazing. can't wait to get my next book!

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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Review by Abby

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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