The Woodcarver’s Daughter by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Do you have any interesting connections to any authors?⁣

I met Yona Zeldis McDonough (a.k.a. Kitty Zeldis) for lunch about 2 years ago with Suzy Approved and my friend Jen, the Well Read Traveler, and found out her husband was my photography teacher in college!⁣

The Woodcarver’s Daughter introduces children to a period of contemporary Jewish history in a well-written, entertaining and detailed way. It begins with the story of ordinary shtetl life which is soon interrupted by a pogrom. The family endures a harrowing ship voyage and then must adjust to a new life. Batya, the main character, is persistent and overcomes the obstacles put before her.”

― Ilka Gordon, AJL Newsletter, Beachwood, OH


I don’t usually read kids books since I don’t have any, but you know I love my crafty stuff (my dad and brother are both into carpentry and woodcarving) and there is just nothing more joyous than the lights and sounds of aboardwalk carousel horse whizzing by.⁣

Batya’s Russian Jewish family is forced to flee their home & she hopes new opportunities allow her to finally become a woodcarver like her dad. But there’s just one problem – girls can’t be woodcarvers in America either.⁣

This book is so many wonderful things. It’s heartwarming to watch Batya carve out a place for herself in the world and to observe the love she has for her family and her craft. It’s an eye-opening, and timely historical story of immigration and identity, and a heartbreaking taste of prejudice, loss, and the struggles to fit in. But it’s such a joy to follow Batya’s story, and her love of the carousel horses and all the happiness they bring to the world still today!⁣

The Woodcarver’s Daughter is a beautiful story to both entertain as well as teach kids some valuable and important lessons. Recommended for ages 8+ and available this Thursday, April 1, 2021.⁣

Thank you Suzy Approved Book Tours, Yona Zeldis McDonough, and Kar Ben Publishing for the gifted book!⁣

“Charming, warming girl power in early-20th-century immigrant New York.”

Kirkus Reviews

  • Publisher : Kar-Ben Publishing ® (April 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 128 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1728420261
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1728420264
  • Reading age : 8 – 13 years

About The Book: 

After a pogrom forces Batya’s Russian Jewish family to leave their home and make the journey to America, Batya hopes her new life will offer her a chance to become a woodcarver like her beloved father. But while many things in America are different from the world of her shtetl, one thing seems to be the same: only boys can be woodcarvers. Still, Batya is determined to learn. With the same perseverance that helped her family survive and start over in an unfamiliar land, Batya sets out to carve a place for herself.


About The Author: 

Yona Zeldis McDonough was born in Hadera, Israel, and lives in Brooklyn, New York. Educated at Vassar College and Columbia University, she is the author of eight novels for adults and 30 books for children. Her short fiction, essays, and articles have appeared in many national and literary publications. She is the fiction editor of Lilith Magazine, a feminist, Jewish magazine. http://yonazeldismcdonough.ipage.com/


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