Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard and Tanya Simon

Published on December 13, 2021

Oskar and the Eight Blessings Book Cover

Reviewed by Elizabeth DeVincenzo

It’s the seventh day of Hanukkah in New York City in 1938.   Oskar, a Jewish child refugee from Nazi Europe has just arrived in Manhattan alone with a photograph of his Aunt Esther, who he has never met.  Oskar, not knowing a word of English must walk the length of Manhattan on this cold night without food or money to his aunt’s home uptown before she lights the Shamash candle on the menorah for Hanukkah.  As Oskar makes his journey uptown he hears his father’s last words to him before he left “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good.  You have to look for blessings.” Along the way, he encounters eight different individuals offering acts of kindness.  An elderly woman offers him some bread to eat, a man selling comics gives him a Superman comic for free.  Another boy gives Oskar his mittens and Oskar gives him his comic book in return.  Eleanor Roosevelt even makes a cameo appearance in this story.  Included is an author’s note giving his family background in relation to the story and explaining the historical events that are occurred in December, 1938. Also included is a map with pictures of the different landmarks Oskar encountered on his journey.  I would recommend sharing this heartwarming and uplifting story during the holiday season.   It is a story of hope and perseverance during difficult times. 


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