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Winner of France's most prestigious children's book award, this vividly drawn novel tells the harrowing tale of a smart, feisty 12-year-old Jewish girl in 11th C. France during the first Crusade.
Feisty and smart, Elvina is not your average 12-year-old. She adores reading ,writing, and studying like the boys. And she detests silly girls' chores, like keeping chicken eggs warm until they hatch. But she is also skilled in the art of healing, a skill that ultimately gets her into trouble.
It's the 11th Century in France, and the Crusades are on a campaign to rid France of the Jews. The Jews live in terror and are on high alert that danger is drawing near to their town. One night, while Elvina is alone in her house, she hears a rap on the door. Can her guardian angel keep her safe?
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SYLVIE WEIL grew up in France and studied the classics and French literature at the Sorbonne in Paris. A university professor and writer, Sylvie lives in Paris and New York City.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6-8–The Crusaders–often icons of valor and derring-do in Robin Hood legends–were harbingers of terror and imminent death for medieval Jews. Elvina, granddaughter of the revered 11th-century French rabbi and commentator Rashi, takes center-stage in this novel in which readers experience the period through Jewish eyes. The otherwise fascinating plot proceeds somewhat erratically in chapters that alternate, but not consistently, between the 12-year-old's first-person communications with her imaginary guardian angel, Mazal, and a third-person narrative. While her mother is helping a friend through childbirth, Elvina becomes the woman of the house, frustratingly trying to balance her love of reading and writing and long, philosophical talks with her beloved grandfather with female responsibilities that she really doesn't want. When news that the illiterate Crusaders are heading through Troyes en route to Jerusalem to destroy the infidels (Muslims), the Jews know that they are in equal danger. While their leaders try to appease the marauders, Elvina stumbles on a young deserter who is hiding because he wants to study with priests rather than fight. Through a series of believable coincidences, the act of helping him becomes the catalyst for saving the community. Though occasionally uneven writing (or translating) keeps readers from being riveted, descriptions of traditions are well done and informative. Elvina's story brings a time, a place, and a people long ignored to life, but the novel may find a limited audience.–Mary R. Hofmann, Rivera Middle School, Merced, CA
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Book Description Arthur A. Levine Books, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st US Edition September 2004. Seller Inventory # DADAX0439576814
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Book Description Arthur A. Levine Books, 2004. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st US Edition September 2004. Ships with Tracking Number! INTERNATIONAL WORLDWIDE Shipping available. Buy with confidence, excellent customer service!. Seller Inventory # 0439576814n