- Virginia Johnson
It’s 1938. After the Night of Broken Glass, Oskar’s parents feel they must send him to America, so he can be safe. Traveling all alone, Oskar arrives in New York City on the seventh day of Hanukkah, which also happens to be Christmas Eve. He must walk a long way across the city to reach his Aunt Esther, hoping to reach her house before she lights the menorah at sunset.
Aunt Esther does not know he is coming, so he must navigate the cold streets by himself, over 100 blocks on the big street called Broadway. It is rather daunting for a small boy, but Oskar is comforted by his father’s last words to him: “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.”
Richard and Tanya Simon’s Oskar and the Eight Blessings is a picture book of comfort and joy—a blessing for the holiday season or any time at all. Illustrator Mark Siegel has done a beautiful job of recreating 1930s New York and its people. Oskar meets famous people and ordinary people, but, rich or poor, each one has a precious blessing for him.
This warmly drawn and well-written story should become a classic, finding its way on the shelf next to other perennial favorites, such as Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express and Patricia Polacco’s The Blessing Cup.