Fas­ci­nat­ing: The Life of Leonard Nimoy

Richard Michel­son; Edel Rodriguez, illus.
  • Review
By – August 25, 2016

Not­ed actor and direc­tor Leonard Nimoy is pro­filed in this won­der­ful pic­ture biog­ra­phy which details his rich Jew­ish back­ground, his ear­ly love of the­ater, his high­ly devel­oped work eth­ic, his deep love of fam­i­ly, and his deter­mi­na­tion to achieve his goals.

Assist­ed by Edel Rodriguez’s cap­ti­vat­ing illus­tra­tions, Richard Michel­son explores Nimoy’s famous strug­gle to both iden­ti­fy with and sep­a­rate from his most icon­ic char­ac­ter, Mr. Spock of Star Trek, as well as the spe­cial touch­es the actor cre­at­ed and per­fect­ed in bring­ing this well-known tele­vi­sion and movie per­son­al­i­ty to life. The sto­ry traces the source of Spock­’s sig­na­ture Vul­can hand greet­ing to Nimoy’s child­hood, sneak­ing a peek at the priest­ly bless­ing in syn­a­gogue dur­ing High Hol­i­day services.

The child of immi­grants who felt a bit alien them­selves in their new coun­try, Nimoy brought a nuanced under­stand­ing to the expe­ri­ence of his Star Trek char­ac­ter — a role he ini­tial­ly did not take very seri­ous­ly but lat­er rec­og­nized for the cul­tur­al phe­nom­e­non it became. 

Michelson’s per­son­al rela­tion­ship with Nimoy adds depth to this touch­ing sto­ry about a young actor trans­lat­ing the immi­grant expe­ri­ence into a beloved but bizarre tele­vi­sion char­ac­ter. The text and engag­ing full-page illus­tra­tions of Fas­ci­nat­ing: The Life of Leonard Nimoy draw the read­er into Nimoy’s world, help­ing to make this book an expe­ri­ence to savor.

Star Trek fans will love read­ing about their hero. Read­ers look­ing for a Jew­ish role mod­el will find a good one here. Every­one will admire the true sto­ry of a boy who dreams big dreams, dreams as big as the uni­verse, and per­se­veres until they come true.

High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – 10.

Vis­it­ing Scribe: Richard Michelson

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Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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