Jewish Values: Not Your All-American Girl

Place of Publication: 
New York
Publication Year: 
Number of Pages: 
243 p.
The Chinese and Jewish Horowitz family from Sydney Taylor Honor Book This is Just a Test (Scholastic, 2017) is back. And this time Lauren is the star. She and her best friend Tara (“the Royal We”) get parts in the school play. But while Lauren gets a place in the ensemble, Tara is the star, the blond All- American Girl. Lauren does her best, but the girls’ relationship is strained. As she finds her way back to her energetic and creative self, Lauren discovers Patsy Cline and her haunting music, the story of a Chinese-American man who was killed, and some new information about her grandmother Wai Po. In the end Lauren’s world has found a slightly different, but altogether appropriate axis. The show is a rousing success with a surprise ending. And “the Royal We” find new friends. The book is set in the mid-1980s, but the issues and problems are timeless. While Judaism is not a dominant theme, it is never out of sight. There is a Shabbat at home and a Passover Seder to reinforce the family’s connection. There are funny scenes galore including kids, parents and the two grandmothers, as well as tender moments as Lauren finds her way. The chapter titles and illustrations (many of them Lauren’s home-made buttons) add more color to the life in the text. In addition, the book asserts the value of families who don’t “look Jewish.” Lauren and her family will steal the reader’s heart.
Sydney Taylor Winner: