A six-year-old girl faces Anti-Semitism on her own while her parents struggle to deal with her brother's autism.
Narrow Path Publishing - Books
CHILDHOOD ISN'T EASY...
...especially for Emily Horowitz. As the only Jewish child in her neighborhood, Emily s spirit bears a peculiar burden. On the first night of Chanukah, she marches grimly home, a note pinned to her pocket about her refusal to sing Christmas carols in music class. But Emily s baby brother has just been diagnosed as autistic, confirming her mother's worst fear.
Emily is about to become a forgotten child, lost inside a stormy world of grown-up problems and childhood fantasies.
And winter has barely begun...
Everything was all slushy on the way home from school. I tiptoed carefully
round the puddles, Leigh steered her bike right through them. The wind
messed up her braids, yellow hair went in her mouth and over her eyes like it
I wished I had a bike too. I covered the note pinned to my jacket and prayed
that Mama would use her soft voice on me when she read it.
Leigh hummed a Christmas song as we rounded the corner. “I can’t wait ’til
the concert, can you, Emily?”
“C’mon,” Leigh said. “It’ll be so fun.”
I scraped melting snow off my boot. “But there’s no Jewish stuff.”
“There’s a menorah next to the tree, isn’t there?”
I pushed my hands down deep into my pockets, I wanted to fold myself up.
“Yeah, but . . .”
Something hit the back of my head and slid down my neck to under my shirt.
I turned just in time to see dumb, fat Joey laughing. “Gotcha,” he said, and in
a quiet voice he added something that sounded like, “Jew.”
My eyes burned me. A car honked, Leigh grabbed my arm. I looked both ways
and ran across the street. I got across safe but there was ice on the sidewalk, I slipped and slid towards my house. I got up and flipped my zipper up and
down ’til my eyes stopped wanting to cry.
Leigh’s bike crashed down. “Don’t—”
“I’m fine.” I reached under my shirt for the key I wished was round my neck
like Leigh has round hers. My hands burned with cold. I marched to the front
door and rang the doorbell.
No one answered.
I twisted my elbow around to look at the scar where I fell and rang the bell
again. A big family of birds flew across the sky. They honked loud. I pushed the doorbell all the way in and held it down.
Mama opened the door. Her eyes were wide and blue as lakes and she had
her smile on, but her lips were thin. I stared at her while I ripped the note off the pin and came in.