Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Crystal Beads, Lalka's Journey by Pat Black-Gould (Author), Katya Royz (Illustrator)


A Star of David necklace or a rosary?

In 1939 Poland, a young girl is asked to give up one of these and accept the other without understanding why. However, what she must part with happens to be her most prized possession--a precious gift given to her by her father before he died.
The child’s mother then teaches the girl a "game" to prepare her for what is to come. As the Nazis invade the country, the mother is forced to make a heartbreaking sacrifice.

This beautifully illustrated picture book is loosely based on a true story. Although told through the eyes of a young girl, the book is written for readers of all ages. It also contains two study guides. One is for children, parents, and teachers. The other is for adults who may gather in places of worship, book clubs, and small groups. Discussion topics include themes of compassion, empathy, and diversity.



About The Author


Pat Black-Gould, PhD , is a clinical psychologist, author, and playwright. Her short stories have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies.

Many years ago, Pat heard a powerful story that haunted her until she committed it to paper. The Crystal Beads was first published in Jewish Fiction. net in 2020. The short story then won first-place honors in two writing competitions conducted by the National League of American Pen Women, Inc., Washington, D.C. The first was an award by the Pen Women Florida State Association. Pat then received the Flannery O’Connor Short Story Award as part of the National Biennial Letters Competition.

Pat felt it was important to bring the story to a younger audience. At that point, she rewrote it as a children’s book. She hopes that The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey will do justice to the story she once heard and carry its message to younger generations.

Pat’s writing explores topics such as compassion, tolerance, and diversity. She continues to examine these themes in her upcoming novel, Limbo of the Moon, written with her co-writer, Steve Hardiman.

In addition, Pat (under the name of Patricia Black) has published a book chapter and journal articles on Deafness and Mental Heath with co-author, Neal Glickman, PhD.


My Review

This is a beautifully illustrated book that is an eye opener. A mother desperate to save her child, makes a decision that is a life changer! As the title states “The Crystal Beads”, or Rosary Beads, and a young Jewish girl is in the center of the Holocaust, and a mother who gives her the ultimate gift of survival.
Based on a true story, and geared to children, although I might choose an age older than 8, this blight in history should not be forgotten, and the author has does a wonderful job of bringing this story alive.
I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Purple Butterfly Press, and was not required to give a positive review.

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