Posts tagged ‘Poland’


The Lost Girl from Belzec, A WW2 Historical Novel

Written by Ravit Raufman

A complex historical holocaust novel based on a true story. It explores the complex psychological relationship between a mother and her daughter.

The Nazis thrust Ruthie and her daughter Noga into the Belzec concentration camp in Poland. Ruthie desperately wants to save Noga, so she smuggles her out of the camp. The author narrates the saga from both their points of view and alternates back and forth. While the author creates well-delineated characters in heartbreaking situations, this dual arrangement can be confusing and annoying.

For young adults and adults who enjoy carefully researched historical novels or those that explore complex psychological issues, this book is an excellent choice. The characters struggle to survive and experience pain and suffering through physical and mental torture. Readers should expect that the book will make a deep impression on them.


The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey – virtual book tour and giveaway #thecrystalbeads

In partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Purple Butterfly Press.


The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey

Written by Pat Black-Gould

Illustrated by Katya Royz

Ages 8+ | 40 Pages

Publisher: Purple Butterfly Press | ISBN-13: 9781955119207

Publisher’s Synopsis: A Star of David necklace or a rosary?

In 1939 Poland, a young girl is asked to give up one of these and accept the other without understanding why. However, what she must part with happens to be her most prized possession—a precious gift given to her by her father before he died.

The child’s mother then teaches the girl a “game” to prepare her for what is to come. As the Nazis invade the country, the mother is forced to make a heartbreaking sacrifice.

This beautifully illustrated picture book is loosely based on a true story. Although told through the eyes of a young girl, the book is written for readers of all ages. It also contains two study guides. One is for children, parents, and teachers. The other is for adults who may gather in places of worship, book clubs, and small groups. Discussion topics include themes of compassion, empathy, and diversity.



Barnes and Noble


Pat Black-Gould, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist and an author. Her short stories have appeared in several literary journals and anthologies.

Many years ago, Pat heard a powerful story that haunted her until she committed it to paper. The Crystal Beads was first published in Jewish Fiction. net in 2020. The short story then won first-place honors in two writing competitions conducted by the National League of American Pen Women, Washington, D.C.

The first was an award by the Pen Women Florida State Association. She then received the Flannery O’Connor Short Story Award as part of the National Biennial Letters in Competition. Pat felt it important to bring the story to a younger audience. At that point, she rewrote it as a children’s book. She hopes that The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey, will do justice to the story she once heard and carry its message to younger generations.

Pat’s writing explores topics such as compassion, tolerance, and diversity. She continues to examine these themes in her upcoming novel, Limbo of the Moon, written with her co-writer, Steve Hardiman.

For more information, visit



The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey

Written by Patricia Black-Gould

Illustrated by Katya Royz

The story opens in 1939 Poland. A little girl named Lalka treasures the Star of David necklace that her father gave her shortly before he died. Suddenly, Lalka’s mother asks her to remove it and instead gifts her a set of crystal beads called a rosary. They will be playing a game. Lalka must learn all about its secrets.

Shortly after, Lalka’s mother enrolls her in a convent school where she will live and go to Catholic school. She is confused and upset but follows the instructions her mother had given her. When two men come to interrogate her, Lalka faces a difficult decision.

Gould writes about the holocaust story in a way with which elementary and middle-school readers understand. Readers empathize and absorb its impact through Lalka’s experiences. The book is sensitive and well-written. Royz illustrates it with compassion and tenderness.

The discussion guides for both children and adults are carefully crafted. They provide the tools to assure a fruitful learning environment. Gould also explains how children may become involved as active participants in the Children’s Holocaust Project.

I highly recommend the book to parents and teachers of children ages five through twelve.


Enter for a chance to win a copy of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey!

Four (4) winners receive:

A signed copy of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey.



Monday, July 11, 2022The Children’s Book ReviewA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Tuesday, July 12, 2022Life Is What It’s CalledAn interview with author Pat Black-Gould
Wednesday, July 13, 2022The Momma SpotA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Thursday, July 14, 2022Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Friday, July 15, 2022Writer with WanderlustA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Monday, July 18, 2022Me Two BooksA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Tuesday, July 19, 2022icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Wednesday, July 20, 2022Barbara Ann MojicaA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Thursday, July 21, 2022The Twirling Book PrincessAn article by author Pat Black-Gould
Friday, July 22, 2022The Fairview ReviewA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Monday, July 25, 2022Lisa’s ReadingA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Tuesday, July 26, 2022Shooting Stars MagAn article by author Pat Black-Gould
Wednesday, July 27, 2022J.R.s Book ReviewsA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Thursday, July 28, 2022Crafty Moms ShareA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey
Friday, July 29, 2022Because I Said SoA book review of The Crystal Beads, Lalka’s Journey


Catherine The Great: A Life from Beginning to End

Hourly History Series

This short summary of Catherine The Great’s life provides good insight into a woman who was able to turn ambition into fulfillment. Catherine was born in modern-day Poland. Her mother’s wealthy relatives played a prominent part in her rise to power. She was betrothed to Peter, the prospective Tsar of Russia. Catherine despised Peter, but she did everything in her power to gain the love and support of the Russian people. She learned the Russian language, converted to the Eastern Orthodox faith, and acquired the support of the Russian military guard.

Catherine was an early feminist. She supported educational reforms for men and women, reformed the farming system by introducing European reforms, and introduced the principles of European Enlightenment, counting the philosopher, Voltaire, as one of her friends. Catherine extended the territorial boundaries of Russia and succeeded in many of her military goals. She devoted her life to power and did not shirk from using violence to achieve it. The principles she set forth laid the foundation for modern Russia.

Recommended as an introduction to Russian history or as a reference for student research into the subject. The essay is easy to read and is recommended for middle-grade and young adult readers as well as adults interested in biographies and history.

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