Why We Chose This Book Marven of the Great North Woods

When the deadly 1918 flu epidemic strikes, ten-year-old Marven’s parents send him from the city to the safety of the Canadian wilderness. He travels alone to take up the role of book-keeper at a remote logging camp, where he’s the only child and almost nobody else speaks English.

What at first may seem like an implausible adventure is actually based on the incredible boyhood experience of the author’s father. The atmospheric illustrations beautifully capture the mood of the time period and the vast snowy landscape. Seven- and eight-year-old subscribers will learn about an unusual and fascinating slice of Jewish immigrant history. They’ll be amused by the way Marven keeps warm by putting hot latkes in his pockets and under his hat, and, like Marven, they’ll even pick up a few words of French!

Marven’s parents point out the parallels between his temporary journey to a new land and their own experience of moving somewhere where they don’t know anyone and don’t speak the local language. Marven tries to keep kosher as best he can in a place where he’s the only Jew. Gradually he learns resilience, forms friendships across age and cultural divides, and comes to thrive in the alien environment. What wonderful themes and messages there are in this exciting, true, Jewish adventure!