Review: Book Tells True Story Of Jewish Boy Who Created A Language Of Hope And Unity

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Many kids like to make up their own languages, and communicate with their friends or siblings in their newfound dialect.

This book, Doctor Esperanto And The Language Of Hope by Mara Rockliff, with illustrations by Zosia Dzierzawska is a true story about a boy named Leyzer Zamenhof who did the same thing because he wanted to create a “language of hope”. This is a true story about a boy lived in Poland in the late 1800s, and was surrounded by many languages. He wanted a language of unity and thought, if everyone understood each other, maybe there would be more peace in the world.

So, Leyzer decided to create a new language. He borrowed words from different languages and “tailored” them to fit his. He was very inspired to make kind words, since mean ones “cut him like stones”. But, when he finally finished his language called Esperanto, his father refused to let him use it. His father wanted Leyzer to go to a university and become a doctor, not waste his time on silly words. So, the father stole Leyzer papers full of his words and threw them in a fire. This meant that Leyzer had to start all over again. So he did. Years after, his language finally came together, and he was able to share it with the world. He even changed his name to Esperanto, meaning “the one who hopes”.

This book is so inspiring! I think a lot of kids will look up to Leyzer beacuase he had a dream at a young age and pursued it. Even when others told him no, he persisted, and in the end, it paid off. Esperanto was also Jewish, and Jewish readers may appreciate reading about a protagonist who shares their faith.

I recommend this book to readers ages 6-12. The book is a little long for a picture book, but the words are pretty simple, so most young readers should be able to understand it.

Four out of four roses!

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