Friday, June 24, 2011

Book Review: Cry of the Giraffe, Based on a True Story by Judie Oron

Authors site and for more information on this incredible story:

Link for the book @ Amazon:
Hardback $16.48
Paperback $10.36

Link for the book @ publisher:
  • 2011 USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List
  • 2011 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens
  • White Ravens Collection, International Youth Library, Munich
  • 2011 Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award
  • Amelia Bloomer Project 2011 List, ALA
  • YALSA Hidden Gems

Cry of the Giraffe is on Facebook:

Published by Annick Press July 2010
208 pages/Non-fiction/Grades 8 and up
Slavery/Ethiopian Jew/Refugee/Abuse/War

Once again I've read a story I'd not heard of before. The true story of Jewish refugees fleeing the destruction of Jerusalem and the First Temple that traveled and settled in Ethiopia. These Jewish Ethiopians lived in their own communities for a long time, waiting until they could settle back in the land of their father's. They called themselves Beta Israel or House of Israel. When Israel became a statehood in 1948 they waited patiently for the ability to resettle there. In the 1980's Ethiopia became ever more hostile to them and they began fleeing to Sudan to await a hopeful flight out of Sudan and to Israel. While waiting in these refugee camps in Sudan the abuse, neglect, starvation, and disease was horrifying and rampant. Families were torn apart literally, some never seeing each other again. Others were parted for long periods of time. More than 4,000 would die.
There are120,000 Ethiopian Jews living in Israel now.
Cry of the Giraffe is the story of Wuditu a young girl living in a village in Ethiopia with her brother Dawid and mother. Their mother was the first wife of their father Berihun. He had a second wife and several daughters with her. Each of the wives lived with their own children in separate houses.
This family early in the book began to leave Ethiopia walking with a guide all the way to Sudan. After reaching there they wait in a refugee camp, hoping that soon they can leave for Israel.

When the book begins Wuditu is age 9. She loves school, loves her family, she is dedicated to caring for her siblings, she fondly thinks of her brother Dawid. Early in the book we understand that Wuditu is going to endure hardship, but what experiences she goes through was depressing to me. It is more than sad, it is heart breaking and not understandable. Adults use her and abuse her more than they would an animal. She is collateral chattel a slave. She experiences abuse because she is a girl, and because she is a Jew.
This book is more than heart stirring, it is unforgettable.
There are situations that happen toward the end of the book that a young adult may need strong guidance.
This to me is not a book a young person should just be "let loose" to read alone.
In my opinion it is important for young people to understand what is going on in other countries. Countries that's cultures and religions and oppression and war have diluted the thinking of those in control of the people.
Many in this world do not have a vote or a voice. Judie Oron gave a voice to little Wuditu.

Blissful Reading!

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