The only subject I excelled in when I was in grade school was English. I actually looked forward to reading a book and then writing a report. My love for books and stories was formed at a young age. I can still remember the excitement I felt when I opened a new Hardy Boys volume, or the surge of energy I felt when reading the latest Tom Swift series. The wonderful black and white illustrations are still vivid in my mind. In a sense, The Hebrew Kid is my way of creating an exciting and meaningful adventure series. And so I was hugely grateful to learn, just a few days ago, that eleven-year-old Sammy Maoz chose The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden as the subject for his school book report. Sammy is a student at Yeshiva Derech HaTorah in Brooklyn. Besides being a member of the math league, Sammy enjoys a wide range of literary genres: action, fantasy, and mysteries.
Dear Mr. Avrech,
My name is Sammy Maoz and my father is Jason Maoz [Editor in Chief] of The Jewish Press. My father gave me the copy of your book that you sent to him. I read it right away and loved it. I can’t wait for the next one. I had to do a book report for my 6th grade English class on a book about historical fiction. I chose your book and my teacher approved it. I got an “A” on the report. Attached is a copy of it. I hope you enjoy it.
The title of my book is The Hebrew Kid and the Apache Maiden and the author is Robert J. Avrech. The genre is historical fiction and it has 220 pages. The publisher is Seraphic Press. Robert J. Avrech is a screenwriter producer in Hollywood. Among his best films are A Stranger Among Us, and Devil’s Arithmetic. Mr. Avrech lives with his family in Los Angles. This is his first novel, and it’s in memory of his son Ariel Chaim Avrech.
The story takes place in the late 1800’s in Arizona. In the West there were Apaches. The people didn’t have electricity, cars, and trains. They traveled by wagons pulled by horse. The main characters are Ariel and Lozen. Ariel is a 12-year-old kid who is going to be Bar Mitzva. Lozen is an Apache girl whose brother is a great Apache chief. Doc Holliday AKA John Henry Holliday was famous for being a pioneer doctor. Ariel became more mature as the story goes on.
Ariel is becoming 13 but he needs to find ten Jewish people for his Bar Mitzva. Doc Holliday brings ten Jewish people for Ariel. The most exciting part was when Ariel’s sister Rebecca was kidnapped and Ariel had to fight together with Lozen and used his gun for the first time.
I liked it because it was thrilling and scary. I loved where he described the background and added Doc Holliday to the story. I would have liked to live back then because you would ride horses and in wagons and all food was homemade. An alternate ending would be that Lozen would become Jewish and join Ariel and his family.
My hope is that Sammy grows to love books, to feel that fine literature is a central portion of his life. And perhaps when he’s older and reflecting on the influence books have had on him, he will remember that one of the first books that fired his imagination was written for and in memory of a young man named Ariel.