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My Books

How My Parents Learned to Eat, illustrated by Caldecott-winner Allan Say

ALA Notable Book for Children • Christopher Award • Horn Book Fanfare Selection • National Council for Social Studies/Children's Book Council (NCSS/CBC) • Reading Rainbow Review Book

• School Library Journal, Starred: "The book is wonderfully thought-provoking in its portrayal of the subtle similarities and differences among cultures."
• New York Times (B. Clyde Haberman): "…for small children it offers an engaging introduction to the idea that there are many ways to do even something so basic as eating. Differences between cultures are reinforced by Allen Say's color illustrations."
• "…one of the great romances--32 pages of kid story so nuanced and suspenseful that they might remind adults of Jane Austen novels, "The Gift of the Magi," and Ann Patchett's Bel Canto."
• The Asian Reporter, V17, #13 (March 27, 2007): "…the author does a wonderful job of making Aiko's difficulty with mashed potatoes and peas as believable as John's with sukiyaki… Allen Say's watercolor illustrations are, as usual, just right. His pictures of sukiyaki ingredients make my mouth water, and if you look carefully, you can see that the mattress John sits on is just slightly compressed beneath his weight. It's details like these - as well as signs in the streets that make me want to learn to read Japanese and coils of old telephone cords that evoke a certain odd nostalgia - that bring a children's book alive. Ina R. Friedman is no slouch, either. It's not easy to present a familiar culture as strange, but she's up to the challenge. And John's marriage proposal is one of a kind, as is Aiko's acceptance. Read How My Parents Learned to Eat and then eat sukiyaki with chopsticks or roast beef, mashed potatoes, and peas with a knife and fork, whichever seems like more of an adventure."
• Book Corner, "This enduring story of the '80's is perfectly tuned to a mixed heritage, bicultural child's perception of her parent's story, undoubtedly told to her by her parents. She has no question of cultural identity here. She is at home with both cultures. She knows the reverence for elders, the respect for knowing the rules, the need for harmony. She knows that harmonious balance needs sensitivity. She has this harmony in her daily life….N.B.--How My Parents Learned to Eat is one of the earliest mixed heritage picture books in the US that is not about the so-called 'tragic fate of mixed race children.' Parents' courtship is not only a common family story in the oral tradition, but a genre in picture books with mixed heritage themes."

The Other Victims: First-Person Stories of Non-Jews Persecuted by the Nazis

• ALA YA Best Book for Young Adults • American Bookseller Pick of the Lists • Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)

• "Vivid...with profound lessons," Kirkus Reviews; • "...recounted with intelligence and insight," Horn Book; • "informative and involving," School Library Journal.

Based on primary sources and in their own words, Christian survivors of all ages and from all walks of life tell their stories. Illustrated with photographs.

Escape or Die: True Stories of Young People Who Survived the Holocaust

"All should read it -- Jew and non-Jew -- to treasure more and more our own lives," Leonard Baker, Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Biographer

"a valuable book," Rabbi Ben Kahn, B'NAI B'RITH

Representing ten countries, the stories are preceded by short historical notes on each narrator's homeland. These are particularly useful in reminding us that many Jewish communities of Europe date back to Roman times. The notes put the Nazis' hatred into the historical context of European anti-Semitism. Illustrated with photographs.

Flying Against the Wind: The Story of a Young Woman Who Defied the Nazis

Notable Book in the Field of Social Studies (NCSS/CBC); Honorable Mention, Sugarman Award

"an excellent companion piece to Anne Frank's Diary," KLIATT 

The exciting and true story of Cato Bontjes van Beek, a young non-Jewish German executed in 1943 for anti-Nazi resistance. Illustrated with photographs.

My published biographies of teenagers who escaped the Nazis by using their own wits and courage are designed for grades 6 up. They are packaged with or without ancillary classroom materials: a video in which I relate the protagonists' stories and Teacher's Guides. These materials are reported by educators and librarians to be excellent, multi-media, teaching tools for Social Studies units on World War II, World History 1933-1945, and the Holocaust. Please email me for more information.

Copyright © 2009 Ina R. Friedman: All rights reserved.