Book Review: Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger
12 October, 2013 - Book Reviews
I’ve been meaning to read this book ever since the Love MG Actually project in February, but it took a post I saw in which the author was talking about the possible film for me to decide I needed to read it and also talk about the funding of the film.
The blurb: Greenhorn is an illustrated middle grade novel about a young Holocaust survivor who arrives at a Brooklyn yeshiva in the 1940s with only a small box that he won’t let out of his sight.
Greenhorn is a short book (46 pages or so) that tells of the arrival of a young boy, Daniel, at the Jewish school in Brooklyn in 1946. He is a refugee from Germany and his parents have presumably been killed in a concentration camp. He is befriended by Aaron, a boy with a lisp and a lot of goodwill, which unfortunately leads him to be the one picked on by the other boys in his class. And since they are boarders, that means at any time of the day or night.
I’ve lived in a couple of Jewish areas in London, so have picked up some of the terminology, but there is also a handy guide to some of the words and concepts which I found very useful.
There are a range of issues that can be discussed in this book. For some readers it might be their first brush with Judaism or with the Holocaust, or other issues such as bullying, or the need to have something as a security blanket, or the issue of friendship and what that means. There are very good educators’ and discussion guides that accompany the book, and since I don’t usually get to see those I was as fascinated by the contents as I was by the book.
It’s a good story that will resonate with adults and introduce children to a world outside their cosy existence, if they are lucky enough to have a settled family life and home. But it should be handled with care.
Anna Olswanger is excited that there is interest in a film of the book. The big part is the funding of such a project.
There’s lots of information on the film project website: http://www.olswanger.com/greenhorn/filmproject.shtml
They are trying to get the funding in place by the end of December, so any mentions you could give them would be wonderful. They are thinking about doing a Kickstarter campaign as well. If you know anyone that might be interested in funding the project, or contributing to it, do put them in touch with Anna and her team!
I received a free eformat copy from the author in return for an honest review. The views expressed here are entirely my own.