Seraphic Press is, by any standards, a pretty small, modest company, but one with BIG ideas. I stay up half the night dreaming up books, magazines and DVD’s that I’d like to publish. Before I know it Karen and I, in my fevered imagination, are running a vast and influential publishing empire. I try to tell Karen all my ideas, but like the down-to-earth, sane lady she is, Karen gently, patiently reminds me that we have published one book so far and should concentrate on letting people know about The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden. Not easy on a budget. So, though we sent review copies of the book to like a zillion newspapers and magazines, a few of them, no doubt, took one look at the title, sniffed “Too Jewish,” and dropped the book in the never-read pile. Who cares about a book from some dinky independent publishing house?
So, when we do get reviews from such nice people as Jewish Librarians, well, that’s cause for celebration. Librarians are my heros, always have been. I vividly remember the librarian in Yeshiva of Flatbush, the grade school Karen and I attended, Dr. Birnbaum. He was the nicest man in that hell hole of a school. But that’s another blog I’ll get to some time: The Truth about Joel Braverman.
Anywhoooo, whenever we had Library Period–my favorite–Dr. Birnbaum would whip out a new pile of books for me. He knew that I loved a good story and he encouraged me to read better and more sophisticated books.
Yesterday I received an advance copy of a review that is going to be published in The Jewish Book World, a fine journal that goes out to hundreds of Jewish Librarians in North America. Of course, I’m proud of receiving such a nice review and I want to share it with my readers.
Seraphic Press, a new Jewish publisher, is launched auspiciously with this historical novel. It is set in the late nineteenth century in the untamed Arizona Territory, where the native Apaches, the U.S. Cavalry, and assorted outlaws contend for control. Ariel is the twelve year old narrator, telling the story of how his observant Jewish family got there from Russia, the people they met, and, most importantly, how Judaism influenced the choices that they made. Ariel is a courageous and perceptive narrator and his relationship with Lozen, the younger sister of the Apache warrior, Victorio, is a central part of the plot. Lozen and Victorio were real people, defending their land against the incursions of the United States Army, settlers, and outlaws. Without romanticizing the war-like Apache culture, the author, through Ariel’s eyes, clearly considers them heroes. So, too, is a well-known Western character, Doc Holliday, who arranges for a minyan to be present for Ariel’s Bar Mitzvah. Considerable historical research has gone into the book, as well as a solid knowledge of Judaism and a commitment to its life-affirming values. Readers from about 12 to 15 will find not only adventure, characters with whom they can empathize, and a rich American historical background, but also a convincing portrayal of Judaism as a living guide to action. Highly recommended!
Reviewed by Linda R. Silver
I’d like to ask Seraphic Secret readers to go to their local library, Jewish and otherwise, and ask the kind librarian to order The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden. The more copies we sell, the more sleep Karen will get. I won’t have to keep her up with my wild dreams anymore.