Monday, February 21, 2011
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword
Deutsch, B. (2010). Hereville: How Mirka got her sword. New York, NY: Amulet Books.
Mirka is an eleven year old girl living in Hereville, an Orthodox Jewish community. Mirka has less interest in knitting and the responsibilities of a girl her age and more interest in fighting dragons. While on her way to school one day Mirka discovers a house she had never seen before, at the house is a floating woman (a witch) and a pig (pigs are strictly forbidden in Hereville). Mirka is chased down by the pig for stealing a grape from the house, but then saves the pig from bullies in her neighborhood. For this, the witch gives Mirka an award, a sword for battling dragons. Mirka must battle a troll in order to win her reward. With the wisdom of her stepmother and the guidance of her deceased mother, Mirka seeks out the troll.
Mirka is a wonderful female role model. She is witty, intelligent, and strong. Like many girls her age, she constantly has the internal battle of doing what she wants and what her family expects her to do. This book integrates Orthodox Jewish traditions and Yiddish words, providing meanings and an explanation for each. It is wonderfully educational and entertaining at the same time. The illustrations are great, especially the way in which many are oriented on the page. I have never read or seen anything like this graphic novel. I loved it.
graphic novel, fantasy
Ages 9 - 12
Jewish, family, loss, bullies
Mirka Hirschberg: eleven year old girl, dreams about slaying dragons, likes to argue with her stepmother, strong willed, and intelligent
Fruma: Mirka's stepmother, smart woman, likes to outwit her children
Zindel: Mirka's younger brother, tries to keep Mirka in line
The strong willed Mirka struggles between living out her fantasies of battling dragons and trolls and living up to her role within her Orthodox Jewish community.