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My Guardian Angel (Sydney Taylor Honor Book) [Paperback]

Sylvie Weil , Gillian Rosner
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

21 July 2014 Sydney Taylor Honor Book
The streets are eerily empty and everyone in the Jewish community is terrified of Peter the Hermit. His men, the Crusaders, are moving through the town on their way to the Holy Land. They have been known to batter down doors and burn Jewish houses, all in the name of religion.

This is not Nazi Germany but Troyes, France, in 1096, as seen through the eyes of funny, feisty, twelve-year-old Elvina. She is the granddaughter of the great rabbi Rashi and she knows how to read and write - which is very rare for a girl of her time. She draws strength from this, as well as from her guardian angel, to whom she regularly speaks.

On a cold Sabbath afternoon while Elvina is alone in the house, three soldiers pound at her door. One of them is wounded. Elvina has only a moment to make a difficult choice that could put her family and the entire community at risk. Can her guardian angel guide her and keep her safe?

My Guardian Angel is a story of compassion and tolerance that speaks clearly to readers of all faiths. Elvina's voice lingers long in memory and her courage and humour long in the heart.

Product details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Jewish Publication Society (21 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0827612117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0827612112
  • Product Dimensions: 21.3 x 14 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,430,710 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description


"Readers don't have to be Jewish to appreciate this beautifully written story and its wonderfully realized characters and fascinating setting." - Kirkus, starred review "A heady plunge into medieval Europe as well as an enlightening lesson about anti-Semitism in a time period long before the Holocaust." - Booklist

About the Author

Sylvie Weil is the author of several works of adult fiction and the Elvina trilogy, a series of French novels for young adults.

Gillian Rosner has translated many award-wining books for children, including Secrets from 0 to 10 and A Book of Coupons.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Guardian Angel 19 Oct 2007
By Tami Brady TOP 500 REVIEWER
I absolutely love the stories about Rashi and his girls. I find them both fascinating and inspiring. Rashi was one of the most famous rabbis and Jewish scholars of any age. He lived in France around the time of the first crusade. Unfortunately, Rashi never sired any sons to pass on his scholarly gifts. He did however have daughters. Unprecedented in his efforts, Rashi taught his daughters (and later his grandchildren) to read and write. A few even defiantly studied the torah at a time when the mere thought of this was completely unheard of.

My Guardian Angel is the story of Elvina, the grand daughter of Rashi. She too learns to read and write. She also yearns to become a writer. The book serves as a diary of sorts as the young girl as she tries to find her place in a world that is hateful towards Jews, where traditional remedies are seen as evidence of evil magic, and where woman are supposed to focus all their energies on finding a man.

I think this story will bring understanding, pride, and inspiration to a whole new generation of young women. About the only critique I could make about this book would be that I found the change of voice from Elvina to her guardian angel just a little distracting. I would have preferred that the book keep in first person for the entire story.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction At A Nice Pace 4 Jan 2005
By Team LitPick - Published on
A Jewish girl named Elvina who knows how to read and write is living in France, 1096. Crusaders have entered her village, Troyes, and are worrying everyone in the Jewish community. During this troubling time, Elvina starts to talk to her Mazal, or guardian angel. When she hides a Crusader who does not want to fight, her life changes, but for better or for worse, you will have to read the book.

If you like historical fiction, then you would really like this book. I do not like historical fiction that much, but this book went at a nice pace and it made you want to know what happened to the characters. The only thing that I didn't like was that sometimes the narrative would change from 3rd to 1st person. Other than that, it had a pretty good plot and it was pretty entertaining. Sylvie Weil could have made the book better by keeping the narratives the same throughout the book, but it was good overall.

Reviewed by J. Plowe for Flamingnet Book Reviews, [...]
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Award winner from the Association of Jewish Libraries! 26 Jan 2005
By Heidi Estrin - Published on
This title was named a 2004 Sydney Taylor Honor Book by the Association of Jewish Libraries.

Twelve-year-old Elvina is the granddaughter of the great Rabbi Rashi. She has a curious and lively nature and a thirst for knowledge. Her goodness of heart and her knowledge of Torah lead her to assist a wounded Crusader, despite his the cruelty the Crusaders show to the Jews in 11th century France. The guardian angel of the title provides a listener for Elvina's thoughts and worries. Elvina and her grandfather are real historical figures, and the real Elvina was "highly regarded during her lifetime for her knowledge and wisdom."

This chapter book is translated from French, which may account for the strange stylistic choice to shift back and forth between Elvina's voice and an omniscient narrator. Despite this odd structure, the story is easy to follow and the language flows. Elvina is a likeable character, very lively and full of interesting thoughts. The author breathes life into the descriptions of medieval customs, so that they feel natural rather than forced and educational. Additionally, Elvina truly lives her Judaism, rather than mouthing pieties as characters in historical novels often do. It infuses her life, not only in her behavior but also in her decisions, her fears, and her joys.
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful book! 14 Aug 2013
By Bobbi White - Published on
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This is a wonderful story, rich in history, layered with details that are engaging and memorable. I highly recommend this book for young girls of all backgrounds but especially for those whose experience would be enriched by diving deeply into the past of European Hebrew history. The story is a pure delight. All girls would enjoy it; Jewish girls would love it!
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