USBBY Outstanding International Book Pick: Cry of the Giraffe by Judie Oron

In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Yerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated. Terrified, 15-year-old Wuditu must return to Ethiopia alone.

“Don’t give up, Wuditu! Be strong!” The words of her little sister come to Wuditu in a dream and give her the courage to keep going. Wuditu must find someone to give her food and shelter or she will surely die. Finally Wuditu is offered a solution: working as a servant. However, she quickly realizes that she has become a slave. With nowhere else to go, she stays—until the villagers discover that she is a falasha, a hated Jew. Only her dream of one day being reunited with her family gives her strength—until the arrival of a stranger heralds hope and a new life in Israel.

Based on real events, Wuditu’s story mirrors the experiences of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.

Cry of the Giraffe
Judie Oron
2010, Annick Press
ISBN: 9781554512720

Amelia Bloomer Project List
ALA USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List
Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens
White Ravens Collection
International Youth Library, Munich
Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award Best Books for Kids & Teens
Canadian Children’s Book Centre
YALSA Hidden Gems

Reviews:
“A compelling novel . . . left me longing to read more. Highly recommended.”
—CM Reviews, 10/10

“Shows with brutal, unflinching detail the horrors of refugee life and child slavery and the shocking vulnerability of young females in the developing world.”
—Booklist Online, 10/21/10

“This is an example of masterful storytelling . . . Readers learn a great deal about Ethiopia while they are caught up in a riveting story.”
—School Library Journal, 12/10

“Oron unfolds Wuditu’s harrowing story with a journalist’s eye for memorable details and unforgettable situations.”
— American Jewish Libraries Newsletter, 11/10

“The story . . . is extremely well told with a clear voice that is occasionally heartbreaking in its ability to create proximity while maintaining distance.”
—Resource Links, 12/10

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