Jesse's project about his immigrant ancestors is due tomorrow and he hasn't started. In a last-ditch effort to find some information about his great-great grandfather, Yossi, Jesse rummages through the mess in the attic until he finds a little battered travel case, full of pictures, and something else - a Star of David. At first it looks plain and unimportant, but as he holds it in his hand, the star begins to glow. Jesse is in for the surprise, and adventure, of his life as he finds himself becoming the star's first owner, his own great-great grandfather. Now a boy in Russia in the 1880s, Yossi lives in a little village, watched over by thieving soldiers who hate the Jewish community and often raid their crops before they can be stored for the winter. The whole village prays for the opportunity to slip away from their Russian keepers and escape to Canada, a land where they can be free. And nobody, even his parents, think Yossi is old enough to be of any help. But Yossi is out to prove them all wrong. An adventure story for young readers, Jesse's Star is also a compelling history of one family's struggle to be free in the new world.
Ellen Schwartz is the author of Mr. Belinsky's Bagels and the popular Starshine series, one of which, Starshine on TV, was nominated for the Silver Birch Award. The story of her own grandparent's escape from Western Russia at the turn of the century inspired Jesse's Star. Ellen divides her time between writing, teaching and school presentations.