for The Tower of Life
by Chana Stiefel
and Susan Gal
As a young Jewish child living in the small shtetl of Eishyshok in Poland, Yaffa Eliach was rooted in family, community, and history. Yaffa loved helping her Grandma Alte, a photographer, who took portraits of the people of Eishyshok that they would send off to relatives around the world. When Yaffa was six, the Nazis marched into Eishyshok. Yaffa’s family escaped; most of the town’s 3,500 Jewish citizens were killed. Yaffa and her family survived the war in hiding, moving from place to place. After the war, she came to the United States and became a historian. Years later, President Jimmy Carter invited her to help create a Holocaust memorial for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Yaffa embarked on a 17-year global journey to collect photographs of her fellow Jewish citizens of Eishyshok. The resulting “Tower of Life” exhibit celebrates the lives and people of her village: “A world filled with love, laughter, and light.” This remarkable account is a superb testament to its subject, acknowledging dark times and awful truths but focusing on light and life. Spirited, sometimes appropriately moody ink, watercolor, and digital collage illustrations perfectly match the story’s shifting tenor throughout. (Ages 7-10)
CCBC Choices 2023. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2023. Used with permission.