Winner of the 2015 National Jewish Book Award for Children's Literature
A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city's many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world. This is a heartwarming, timeless picture book.
In the wake of Kristallnacht, Oskar's parents send him off alone to New York City to live with his Aunt Esther, who he has never met. The "terribly small" boy arrives on a December day in 1938 that's both the seventh night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, and makes his way 100 blocks up Broadway to reach his aunt's house. The final words of Oskar's father "Even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for blessings" are affirmed as the boy crosses paths with eight New Yorkers from all walks of life (including cameos from Count Basie and Eleanor Roosevelt). The Simons' moving, reserved text is beautifully paired with Siegel's vivid, canvas-textured drawings, which borrow the dramatic framings and emotional energy of contemporary graphic novels. This is a book that's wonderfully original in every way right up to the afterword providing historical context and a map of Oskar's walk. Ages 4 8.