Jewish Values: Invisible Me

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271 p.
Dini Braverman has had a childhood trauma – the aftermath of witnessing a child drown at camp – and, unable to express her feelings about it, she withdraws into a psychiatric disorder known as “selective mutism,” not speaking and communicating only by writing notes. The issues this presents for Dini, her family, her friends, and the successful therapy she receives are the subject of this book. Eventually, Dini learns to respect a balance between thinking of herself and thinking of others. These lessons are, of course, valuable to any teenage reader. While the story is about Dina and her selective mutism, it takes place in the context of an Orthodox Jewish life. Dini attends Jewish day schools, her family is shomer shabbas, she talks to G-d, her sheitel-wearing mother is known for her chesed activities in the community, and her siblings (and Dina herself) may have difficulty finding a marriage partner because of Dini’s affliction. The printed format, effectively presented in various fonts, allows us to read Dini’s notes, hear her thoughts, and follow “conversations” she has with others, especially with her witty and insightful therapist. Other books about selective (or elective )mutism are Blood Secret by Kathryn Lasky and Understanding Buddy by Marc Kornblatt.
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