Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch The line on the cover of this winning graphic novel sums it up nicely: “Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.” Mirka, the 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl, is somewhere towards the bottom middle in age in a large blended family (helpfully for the character count, only those closest in age to Mirka are introduced). She longs to fight dragons and resents her mostly kind if ugly stepmother’s attempts to teach her to knit. It’s sweet family life sprinkled with Yiddish, until Mirka sees a witch in the forest and starts being chased by her talking pig. The art sets just the right tone between serious and funny, and the story is a warm-hearted adventure with a good sense of humor. I fell hard for Mirka, and loved the details of Jewish mythology and Orthodox life. I’ve been toting this one around with me, and everyone I’ve shown it to has been enchanted. I’d say it’s ideal for about third grade up, and I’m really hoping for a sequel where Mirka gets to use her new sword.
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