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Yossel's Journey by Kathryn Lasky
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Yossel's Journey

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Yossel's Journey by Kathryn Lasky
Hardcover $18.99
Sep 06, 2022 | ISBN 9781623541767

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    Sep 06, 2022 | ISBN 9781623541767 | 5-9 years

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  • Sep 06, 2022 | ISBN 9781632899675 | 5-9 years

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Product Details


Because the tsar is “sending his soldiers to hurt Jewish people,” eight-year-old Yossel’s family emigrates from Russia to America, traveling by train, boat, and covered wagon to New York City, then past Santa Fe to a town that borders a Navajo reservation. There, they run a trading post left to them by family, which is filled with “barrels of coffee and beans and seed.” Yossel learns “English and Navajo words for things like coffee and nails…. But I am afraid to speak.” When he meets an Indigenous boy his age, Thomas, they find ways to communicate and share—Yossel’s mother offers blintzes, and Thomas “shows me where the ghosts of Navajos live and where rattlesnakes sleep”—and then build a friendship that grows even closer when Yossel makes Thomas’s infant sibling laugh for the first time. Lines by Lasky (the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series) balance the feel of wide-open spaces and family comforts (“The smell of sagebrush meets the cinnamon of Mama’s honey cake”), while Navajo artist Yazzie’s acrylic paintings portray white-outlined characters and saturated landscapes that draw similarities between Russia and the American Southwest. An author’s note and further reading conclude but elide discussion of the U.S. government’s displacement of Navajo people. Ages 5–9.

Publishers Weekly

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