Cover image for Alexandra's scroll : the story of the first Hanukkah
Title:
Alexandra's scroll : the story of the first Hanukkah
Author:
Chaikin, Miriam.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Henry Holt & Co., [2002]

©2002
Physical Description:
xi, 115 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
Summary:
Alexandra, a young Jewish girl from Jerusalem, describes her life and the creation of Hanukkah, more than 2000 years ago.
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.6 3.0 66468.
Added Author:
ISBN:
9780805063844
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

A young girl's account of life in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.

When the hated Syrian-Greek king fills ancient Jerusalem with statues of Greek gods and destroys the Jewish temple, feisty Alexandra takes up reed pen, ink, and sheet of papyrus and turns "scribe."

In her scroll Alexandra records the everyday happenings of her life, as well as the events of the Jewish rebellion led by the Maccabees. When her father joins the resistance against the Greek authorities, Alexandra must leave her friends and the city she loves. The victory of the Maccabees three years later returns the family to Jerusalem--to old friends, new ones and, for Alexandra, a new life.

Place and time are recreated in this story of a girl caught up in the events that led to the rebuilding of the temple, the miracle of oil that burns eight days, and the celebration of the first Hanukkah.


Author Notes

Miriam Chaikin , a former children's book editor, is the author of over thirty books for young readers. Her most recent book, Don't Step on the Sky , is a collection of haiku illustrated by Hiroe Nakata. Ms. Chaikin lives in New York City.

Stephen Fieser is the illustrator of five previous books, including The Sabbath Lion: A Jewish Folktale from Algeria, retold by Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush. He and his wife live in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-6. Chaikin uses the writings of a fictional child, Alexandra, growing up in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago, as device to personalize history and explain the origins of the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah. Alexandra, unique to her time because she could write, describes the turmoil in her beloved city chafing under the harsh rule of Syrian-Greek King Antiochus, "who burned our holy books, killed our people, and put up a Greek altar in . . . our Temple." After being forced to flee with her mother, she continues recording events, including news of the small band of resistance fighters whose amazing victory became part of the rationale for the holiday's creation. A brief episode that makes clear the viciousness of the king's minions is a bit of a surprise in this otherwise lightweight, prettily illustrated historical novel, which relies on the appeal of the narrator rather than plot tension to keep things interesting. More facts about Hanukkah can be found at the back. This certainly isn't a necessary purchase, but it has a certain charm for kids who have some knowledge of the holiday. Stephanie Zvirin


Publisher's Weekly Review

Alexandra, the Jewish girl who narrates this informative historical novel, lives in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabees. Like them, she experiences the oppression of the Syrian-Greek regime. Inspired by the example of Esther (named here as the author of the scroll read on Purim), Alexandra vows to record the ongoing story of her people and ends up writing about the miracle now commemorated at Hanukkah. Chaikin's (Clouds of Glory) research, as always, is meticulous, but Alexandra often seems more a conduit for that research than a flesh-and-blood character. Fieser's (The Sabbath Lion) abundant illustrations glow with the heat of the Judean sun, grounding the text in its historical setting. Ages 9-12. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-The events leading up to the first Hanukkah come to vivid life through the eyes of a Jewish girl growing up in Jerusalem circa 165 B.C.E. Alexandra, the daughter of a goldsmith and a weaver, has been taught to read and write and yearns to be a scribe, so that she, like Queen Esther, can record the history of her people. Laws are passed making it illegal for Jews to practice their faith, and war breaks out. Alexandra's father joins the rebellion, led by their neighbor Judah Hasmon (who later changes his name to Judah Maccabee), while Alexandra and her mother flee. In the end, the Jews are triumphant and the girl and her family return to Jerusalem in time to witness the miracle of the oil. The characters are compelling and the story is wonderfully readable and filled with humor and fascinating detail. Full-color illustrations give a real feel for the time and place, and a map and afterword with more information about the event are included. Not just a good Hanukkah story, but also a fine piece of historical fiction.-M. A. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.