Editorial Review

Practically Paradise

Cover: The Bat-Chen Diaries

The Bat-Chen Diaries released in February, 2008, nearly slipped beneath my notice. Perhaps because I love bats or the Chen portion may have caught my eye. Whatever reason, I’m glad that I read this title from Kar-Ben Publish-ing. I know The Bat-chen Diaries have been published in other languages (Hebrew, Japanese, Arabic, Italian, Dutch, and German) and this is the first English translation of her work. There is a free teaching guide that can be downloaded from the publisher. In March 1996, Bat-Chen Shahak was killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center. It was Purim, 54 and it was her 15th birthday. Interestingly she had written a condolence poem to widow Leah Rabin after the assas-sination of her husband Israel’s Prime Minister Yizhak Rabin in November, 1995. After Bat-Chen’s death her fam-ily gathered together pieces of her writings in notebooks, diaries, letters, and drawings to produce this tribute to Bat-Chen’s life and desire for peace. Knowing the main character’s fate and that there is no happy ending can make reading war diaries by children very difficult. Even reading grown-up accounts of tragedies is difficult to accept.

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The Bat-Chen Diaries
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