Always an Olivia: A Remark­able Fam­i­ly History

  • Review
By – March 2, 2012
Esteemed author Car­o­livia Her­ron shares the sto­ry based on her own fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry as a Jew­ish African-Amer­i­can. Always an Olivia is a heart­warm­ing sto­ry of pride and fam­i­ly con­nec­tions. Young read­ers will dis­cov­er a unique piece of his­to­ry through the eyes of young Car­ol Olivia as her grand­moth­er pass­es on the sto­ry of her fam­i­ly — from one gen­er­a­tion to anoth­er. From the Span­ish inqui­si­tion to Jew­ish life in Por­tu­gal and Italy, Her­ron describes the joys and strug­gles of Jew­ish life. The youngest of read­ers might be alarmed when beau­ti­ful young Sarah is kid­napped by pirates, but Sarah’s future bright­ens when one of the pirates aids in her escape. Like a real-life fairy­tale, they even­tu­al­ly fall in love and set­tle on the Geor­gia Sea Islands, among the descen­dants of West African slaves. Deep col­ored illus­tra­tions beau­ti­ful­ly depict the char­ac­ters and the scenery. Par­tic­u­lar­ly note­wor­thy are the vibrant flow­ers depict­ed in the illus­tra­tion of the Geor­gia Sea Islands, which con­trast the dark­ness of the night sky when Sarah is in cap­tiv­i­ty. Her­ron includes a foot­note of Jews and Racial Des­ig­na­tion,” which will be of inter­est to teach­ers and stu­dents. Always an Olivia is a unique and impor­tant addi­tion to any Jew­ish school or library. Although appro­pri­ate for read­ers as young as five, old­er chil­dren will be inter­est­ed in the polit­i­cal and fam­i­ly his­to­ry aspects of the sto­ry. This book is sure to be a favorite among teach­ers embark­ing on fam­i­ly geneal­o­gy projects. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed. Ages 5 and up.
Bar­bara Bietz is a free­lance writer and children’s book review­er. She is cur­rent­ly a mem­ber of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee. Bar­bara is the author of the mid­dle grade book, Like a Mac­cabee. She has a blog ded­i­cat­ed to Jew­ish books for chil­dren at www​.Bar​baraB​Book​Blog​.Blogspot​.com.

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