A Bat Mitzvah Adventure

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In “The Length of a String,” by Elissa Weissman, 12-year-old Imani is getting ready for her bat mitzvah, a ceremony in Judaism where a girl becomes regarded as a religious adult. Instead of having a party she is going to get a big present from her (adoptive) parents, and she thinks she knows exactly what she wants: to find and possibly meet her birth parents. When her great-grandma Anna(from her mom’s side) passes away Imani finds Anna’s diary from 1941, and Imani’s world changes.

Anna was born in a small town in Luxembourg, and she had a twin sister. Except as WW|| begins life becomes harder for Jews, so Anna is sent to New York. Imani was born in Baltimore and had an African American mother. Although, Imani doesn’t know anything else about her birth parents. During this piece, Elissa Weissman, the author, works in lots of interesting facts about the war and the Jewish people.

While Imani tries to muster up the courage to ask her parents for her bat mitzvah present she gets hooked on Grandma Anna’s diary. As she gets farther and farther in the diary she finds out so much more, and now Imani wants to crack the mysteries left behind in the diary. Although, at times through this stage Imani’s work started to feel tedious and get slightly boring. 

Imani never stops looking for answers, and eventually starts to find some. Except, the more she learns about Anna’s family the farther she gets from finding out about her own history. That is until she finds the perfect solution. I think that the author was very imaginative in the book and how it ends. It was also really cool because one of the pieces the book ends on is based on a true story.

Since I am studying for my bat mitzvah this book was very meaningful. Through the book, the author provides vivid explanations that make you feel in sync with the feelings from both Imani and Anna. Even though Grandma Anna is gone it seems like Imani is able to bond with her through the diary. Overall, The Length of a String is an easier read that you will get hooked on immediately, and a book that provides new and interesting Holocaust information.