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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 , , , ,

THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ

by

Antonio Iturbe

translated by

Lilit Thwaites.

A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

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!

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The Only Road: A Review by Veronica Jorge

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

THE ONLY ROAD

by

Alexandra Diaz

A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

2016   

ISBN 9781481457507

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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!

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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


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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

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THE LAST GOODNIGHT by Kat Martin—A REVIEW BY VERONICA JORGE

October 22, 2021 by in category Book Reviews by Veronica Jorge, Write From the Heart by Veronica Jorge tagged as , , ,

The Last Goodnight

Kat Martin

Kensington Publishing Corp.

October 26, 2021  

ISBN 978-1-4967-3679-6

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The weather’s getting cooler. Falling leaves and changing colors begin the transition into a new season. Nature can be blustery, wild, destructive, regenerative, and unexpected. Like life, and the lives of the characters in Kat Martin’s new romantic thriller, The Last Goodnight.

Kade Logan never saw his wife, Heather, again after their divorce. Her disappearance always puzzled him. Until the day her murdered body had been found in the hills of Denver. Shoving aside his hurt feelings of betrayal from Heather’s unfaithfulness, he hires a private investigator to find her killer. But he never expected the P.I. would be Ellie Bowman; petite and gorgeous.

Ellie moves in to Kade’s Diamond Bar ranch in Coffee Springs, Colorado and works undercover as a cook, trying to narrow down the list of possible killers. At this point every friend, ranch hand, and town shopkeeper are suspects; including the sheriff, Glen Carver!

Kade and Ellie work the case while also trying to tame the growing attraction between them. Both divorced and victims of unfaithful spouses, they find trust and love elusive and frightening. But when Heather’s killer resurfaces and hones in on Ellie, they both realize the choice they must each make. Hopefully, before it’s too late.

So, grab a hot cup of brew and a throw and nestle into your cozy chair. The Last Goodnight will have you loving and rooting for handsome, powerful Kade and beautiful feisty Ellie where you’ll find that it’s not just murder and caffeine pounding through the town of Coffee Springs, Colorado.

Oh, and just so y’all know, I got dibs on Kade Logan.

Veronica Jorge

See you next time on November 22nd!


Other Books by Kat Martin

(Hover over the covers for buy links. Click on the cover for more information.)

BEYOND CONTROL

Buy now!
BEYOND CONTROL

BEYOND DANGER

Buy now!
BEYOND DANGER

BEYOND REASON

Buy now!
BEYOND REASON

COME MIDNIGHT

Buy now!
COME MIDNIGHT

PIVOT

Buy now!
PIVOT

SHADOWS AT DAWN

Buy now!
SHADOWS AT DAWN

THE CONSPIRACY

Buy now!
THE CONSPIRACY

THE DECEPTION

Buy now!
THE DECEPTION

THE LAST GOODNIGHT

Buy now!
THE LAST GOODNIGHT

THE PERFECT MURDER

Buy now!
THE PERFECT MURDER

THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

Buy now!
THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL

WAIT UNTIL DARK

Buy now!
WAIT UNTIL DARK

THE LAST MILE

Buy now!
THE LAST MILE

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