Home > Archives


March 22, 2022 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as ,


Gwen Strauss

illustrated by Herb Leonhard

Pelican Publishing Co.


ISBN 978-1-455622658


Picture books, that welcoming world of imagery and words that capture the heart and the imagination. And most wonderful of all, when the story is true and reveals a hidden gem.

The Hiding Game, a work of creative nonfiction, is a moving account of the author’s great-uncle Daniel Benedite and Varian Fry, brave men who were instrumental in saving the lives of some of the most important scientists, artists, writers and thinkers of the day such as; Vlady Serge who fled to Mexico and became one of the country’s leading muralist, Max Ernst, a German painter, and artists Marc Chagall and Marcel Duchamp, among others.

Little Aube, daughter of the famous poet, Andre Breton,( known as the Pope of Surrealism), is forced to move from place to place with her family during the 1940s in Nazi-occupied France. They eventually find shelter in Villa Air-Bel, a hidden villa where Varian, with funds from the New York American Rescue Committee, works with Daniel to arrange passage for them, and others, out of war-torn Europe.

Sundays are Aube’s favorite day because, together with all of the “guests” in the house, she spends the day drawing, singing, and playing games. “Papa said that by singing, playing and laughing with the greatest joy, they would fight against fear.”

But most of the time, things remain secret, like the radio for listening to the war news, and the cow in the yard for giving milk. Aube also has her own secret hiding place; the old armoire in the kitchen, just in case “they” come.

Illustrations by Herb Leonhard draw the reader into the lives of the characters, turning a factual account into a personal encounter with time and history. Strauss also provides actual photos of the individuals, a brief history of the account, and links for further study and reading.

I leave you with a quote listed in the book’s endnotes attributed to Rosemary Sullivan’s book, Villa Air-Bel. “Andre Breton believed that surrealism and art must keep the playful child inside us alive. He believed that laughter was fundamentally the opposite of fascism.”

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on April 22nd!

0 1 Read more

The Librarian of Auschwitz: A Book Review by Veronica Jorge

February 22, 2022 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,



Antonio Iturbe

translated by

Lilit Thwaites.


Henry Holt & Co., 2012,

First American Edition, 2017   

ISBN 978-1-62779-618-7

Recently, I replaced my worn copy of Hard Times by Charles Dickens, a novel about the political and economic woes of the 19th century. Hmm. Sound familiar? He prefaces one of the themes of the novel by quoting the biblical phrase, ‘what a man sows, that he will also reap.’ The story unfolds with the ‘seeds’ that each character sows, and the consequences of what they reap.

But that’s a sermon for the pulpit.

My topic addresses the need for books. Replacing this book, and several others, required a long search to obtain the copies in the editions and hard covers I desired. Did I really need to go through so much trouble for a book? Were they worth that much to me? Yes!

Which reminded me of…you guessed it…a book; The Librarian of Auschwitz by the Spanish journalist and author Antonio Iturbe, and based on the true story of Dita Kraus, the little girl who risked her life for the sake of books.

Block 31 in the Auschwitz/Birkenau concentration camp houses about five hundred children and several adults named counselors. Secretly they run a school and hide a library that consists of eight books which include, A Short History of the World by H.G. Wells, a Russian grammar, and a book on analytical geometry. Not exactly essential reading or something to risk your life for, yet that is exactly what they do. Dita is entrusted to hide the books in a different place each night because these books fill their greatest need: the survival of their minds and souls.

The story examines bravery, the causes people risk their lives for, and questions the importance of books. As the author examines on page 408 of his postscript, “Books can’t be used as weapons. They can’t fill a hungry stomach or quench thirst. They can’t cure illnesses, loneliness or prejudice.”

 Or can they?

The Librarian of Auschwitz, together with Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953), The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2007), ( the narrator in Zuzak’s book is Death, wow!), and the non-fiction book by historian of education Diane Ravitch, The Language Police (2003), to name a few, deserve our attention for they remind us of the importance of freedom of thought and expression. In addition, books can indeed satisfy our hunger and thirst for knowledge; they make good companions to ease loneliness; they open our minds to empathize with other cultures and curb prejudice.

Books are also weapons. To quote an often used phrase: ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’ So, let’s keep on writing.

Iturbe concludes that humans can survive with just the basic necessities, but it is culture and books that make a complete person. Without them humanity dies.

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on March 22nd!

0 1 Read more

The Only Road: A Review by Veronica Jorge

January 22, 2022 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,



Alexandra Diaz


Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers


ISBN 9781481457507

Buy from IndieBound
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Google Play
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Barnes and Noble
Buy from Amazon

When you’re a kid, the most you should have to stress over is doing your homework, and the biggest fear should be a zit in the middle of your forehead just before your birthday party. Not so for 12-year-old Jaime and his 15-year-old cousin Angela.

The Alpha Gang has targeted them to become new members–an order, not a choice. The death of Jaime’s cousin and Angela’s brother Miguel remains engraved in their memories, fresh and tangible proof of what will happen to them too if they refuse to join.

Alexandra Diaz’s realistic and tense drama takes us into the heart of Guatemala and the depths of despair as one close-knit family makes the gut-wrenching decision to send the two children away–in order to save their lives.

The money for the “fees” to travel to El Norte, sewn into the waistband of Jaime’s pants, weighs heavily upon him, along with the realization that his family has plunged deeper into debt for his sake. Now their future–and his–depends upon his making it to the United States.

Jaime and his cousin dodge rogue border guards and endure hunger, thirst, fear, prejudice and hostility as they travel illegally from Guatemala into Mexico and then, hopefully, into the United States.

In an age of peoples displaced due to wars and catastrophes, and controversy over immigration issues, this title serves as a reminder of the reasons why many leave their countries for the dream and promise of America. The Only Road, a Pura Belpre Honor Book, reminds the reader that sometimes flight is the only option, and that love, at times, demands great sacrifices.

(My review originally published by the Christian Library Journal; used with permission.)

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on February 22nd!

5 2 Read more

When Being Different Makes a Difference by Veronica Jorge

December 22, 2021 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge
Santa and Rudolph taking a selfie

We all know the story and the song about Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Ridiculed for his red shiny nose. Ostracized because he was different. When it really mattered, that difference made all the difference in the world. Here’s my poem to encourage and celebrate unique, out of the ordinary individuals. Your special self just may be what saves the day.

To All the Rudolphs Out There

by Veronica Jorge

They call me Rudy.

I’m Santa’s buddy.

I’ve got a red pug nose everyone thinks is funny.

When Santa takes flight, I light up the night.

I’m fast. I’m swift. I help Santa give out gifts.

No one laughs anymore at my bright red nose.

So be who you are from your head to your toes.

Let your light shine through.

Be proud of special you.

Be like me, unique.

You’re a star on two feet.

See you next time on January 22, 2022.

Happy New Year!

Veronica Jorge

0 1 Read more

To Tell the Truth by Veronica Jorge

November 22, 2021 by in category Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , , ,

I often enjoyed watching the 1960s game show, To Tell the Truth. It still airs today with the current host Anthony Anderson. The premise of the show consisted of the following. The host read a description of an individual’s particular accomplishment, experience, or unusual occupation. Three contestants claimed to be the person described. Panelists posed a series of questions in order to discover which of the three was the true individual introduced by the host. The show ended with the line, ‘Will the real___please stand up,’ to the surprise, applause and/or dismay of the panelists and audience.

Which brings me to the Thanksgiving Holiday and the various controversies and disputes about who started the first Thanksgiving. So, I engaged in my own version of To Tell the Truth to discover the real inventor of Thanksgiving.

1565 The Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles celebrated a thanksgiving dinner in St. Augustine Florida with the local Timucua tribe to thank God for his crew’s safe arrival.

1619 Thirty-eight British settlers who arrived on the banks of the Virginia and James River designated December 4th as “a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”

1789 George Washington proclaimed a day of thanksgiving at the conclusion of the War for Independence.

1863 Abe Lincoln officially set the last Thursday of November to mark the day for “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”

So, who is the real inventor? 

The truth is that the concept of giving thanks and celebrating harvests is an ancient and global tradition.

Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Native Americans feasted and paid tribute to their gods after the harvest. Jews celebrate the harvest festival of Sukkot, Ghana and Nigeria the Yam Festival, Erntedankkfest in Germany, and the Moon Festival in China, to name a few.

Thanksgiving feasts are celebrated worldwide to commemorate a safe journey, welcome a newborn, move into a new home, land a lob, overcome an illness, and maybe even after writing and selling your first book.

I am persuaded that thanksgiving is ingrained within each of us and spontaneously emanates from our hearts in response to circumstances, people, and events. Regardless of our culture or nationality, we inherently give thanks and rejoice with one another.

When I gather with my loved ones this Thanksgiving, I will be grateful for those who are still here, and for those who have passed on but still live in our hearts. I will give thanks for this country that has made life possible for us, and pray that others may find help and safety here too.

So, who then is the real first inventor of thanksgiving?  The one who instilled it in our hearts.

Or as Lincoln said, “the beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Wishing you all much joy and many reasons for a Happy Thanksgiving.

See you next time on December 22nd.

Veronica Jorge

0 2 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM