Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Feather-Bed Journey

The Feather-Bed Journey

Paula Kurzband Feder
Illustrator:  Stacey Schuett 
Picture Book
For ages 7 to 10
Albert Whitman and Co., 1995   ISBN: 978-0807523308

One night Rachel and her brother have a fight over a pillow, a pillow that belongs to their grandmother. They pull the pillow apart and feathers fly everywhere. Grandmother is very upset and the two children are told that this pillow is very special. They ask their grandmother why it is special and she tells them her story. Both the reader, and Rachel and her brother, listen to grandmother’s voice as she tells them about the pillow. It is a story about the persecution of the Jews in Poland by the Nazis. When Rachel’s grandmother was a little girl her mother made her a feather bed. Soon after, World War Two began and her family was placed in a ghetto by the Nazis. There the feather bed kept six often hungry and frightened children warm at night. It was decided that grandmother would be taken out of the ghetto and hidden and this was done with the help of kind people on the outside. When the war was over grandmother found her mother again but the rest of her family was dead. Grandmother and her mother came to America to begin a new and better life. One day, on Hanukkah, a parcel arrived from Poland. In it was a pillow made from that feather bed that grandmother has slept on when she was little. One of the people who had sheltered grandmother thought she might like to have it. Rachel and her brother learn about the suffering their grandmother endured and how something as simple as a feather bed or a pillow can come to mean a lot to someone.

The author has told this story beautifully, taking us on a journey with Rachel and her brother, back to a terrible time in the history of the world. An author’s note in the back explains why the author wrote this story and why it is important to remember what happened in the past.