The Bat-Chen Diaries
In 1996, on her 15th birthday, Bat-Chen Shahak was killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv’s Dizengoff Center. But the gifted teenager left behind a rich legacy of diaries, letters, poems and drawings. Following her death, her parents gathered her writings and created The Bat-Chen Diaries ; this is the first English translation of her work.
|Interest Level||Grade 5 - Grade 7|
|Reading Level||Grade 5|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
- Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable
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.
This book is a selection of diary entries, writings, poems, and drawings of Bat-Chen Shahak, a 15-year-old Israeli girl who was killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv in 1996. Although she died at a young age, Bat-Chen left be-hind a lot of herself, as the reader can see through her writings and pictures. After the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Bat-Chen wrote a beautiful poem of condolence which she sent to Rabin’s widow, Leah. This poem is printed at the beginning of this book. Following the poem, the book is divided into the different stages of Bat-Chen’s short life. Bat-Chen describes her deep feelings towards family, friends, community, and life. After her tragic death, Bat-Chen’s family gathered up the memorabilia and organized it into this book. The book is attractive and easy to read, and Bat Chen’s writings are meaningful and inspirational. The book would have a stronger impact on the reader if there were accompanying narratives by family members and close friends, rather than just a summary of how Bat Chen’s life was cut short. The work can serve to show the reader that in spite of life’s difficulties, one can find beauty and meaning in daily occurrences that we often take for granted.
Ottawa Jewish Bulletin
“Bat-Chen’s writings depict a truth and honesty that is as constant, heart-felt, sincere and hopeful as her desire for peace and her love for her family, friends and the ‘sacred splendor of Jerusalem.’”
School Library Journal
“This rare glimpse into the life of a normal Israeli girl is made more poignant by her death and will be welcome in most collections.” —School Library Journal
The Horn Book Guide
Fifteen-year-old Bat-Chen Shahak was killed by a suicide bomber in Tel Aviv. She left behind a diary, poems, and letters about love, death, war, and peace. Bat-Chen also wrote about school, friends, boyfriends, and hopes for the future. Her writing is naive but touching, with hints of maturity that never had a chance to bloom. Photographs and drawings add immediacy. MultiCultural
Stories for Children Magazine
“I urge every parent out there to read this book with your kids…This is a must read.”
Author: Bat-Chen Shahak
Bat-Chen Shahak was a young Israeli girl with a passion for writing. She was just a teenager when she was killed in Tel Aviv by a suicide bomber in March 1996. After her death, her family gathered her writing—diaries, notebooks, letters, and drawings—into The Bat-Chen Diaries. A young dreamer who wrote about love and hoped for peace, Bat-Chen’s spirit lives on through her words. Her story has been translated into many languages and continues to inspire readers across the globe.