|Key from Spain : Flory Jagoda and her music|
Author: Levy, Debbie
Just as her ancestors were forced to leave Spain during the Inquisition, Flory flees Europe for a new life in the United States, bringing with her a precious harmoniku and a passion for Ladino music.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: LG
Reading Level: 4.60
Points: .5 Quiz: 503380
Kirkus Reviews (06/01/19)
School Library Journal (08/01/19)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 07/01/2019 When the Altaras family leaves Spain following the Inquisition, they carry a key to their old house and Ladino, the spoken language of Sephardic Jews. In 1923, a girl named Flory is born into the Altaras family in Bosnia. She loves Ladino, music, and the harmoniku (accordion) given to her by her nona. In 1941, Flory must flee the Nazis, and playing music keeps her from being unmasked as a Jew. Later, she immigrates to America as a war bride, sharing music and Ladino with all. Levy’s succinct text conveys the highlights of Jagoda’s life as well as her love of the folk music that is central to Ladino culture. Wimmer’s artwork utilizes maps, dates, and other imagery to convey a sense of the many time periods and places depicted. She also works Ladino words and phrases into her art, using strategic placement to ensure readers will grasp the meanings. With further information about Jagoda and links to her performances, this is a worthy (though fictionalized) homage to a language and its fervent promoter. - Copyright 2019 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 08/01/2019 Gr 2–5—Levy's captivating picture book biography tells the story of Flory Jagoda, known today as the "Keeper of the Flame" of Sephardic culture and music. The narrative begins centuries after Flory's descendants, the Altaras family, were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition due to their Sephardic identity. After centuries of living peacefully in Bosnia, Flory's family had to escape the dangers of World War II for the same reason. Forced to flee her home for America, Flory relied on music to stay connected to her family's heritage, even as war ravaged her home and stole away her loved ones. Levy's writing and Wimmer's mixed-media illustrations strike the perfect synergy, working together to celebrate music, heritage, and family histories. The writing is poetic and lyrical, effortlessly weaving centuries of history into the story while maintaining a strikingly intimate tone. Wimmer's illustrations are nuanced, and readers will enjoy discovering new details upon each rereading of the book. VERDICT A beautifully crafted story that touches on a lesser-known historical topic. Together, the words and pictures convey musicality without a single note of harmoniku, Flory's instrument of choice, having to be played. This work is a must-purchase for library collections.—Lauren Hathaway, University of British Columbia - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.