Blue Threadby Ruth Tenzer Feldman
The women’s suffrage movement is in full swing in 1912 Portland, Oregon—the last holdout state on the West Coast. Miriam desperately wants to work at her father’s printing shop, but when he refuses she decides to dedicate herself to the suffrage movement, demanding rights for women and a different life for herself. Amidst the uncertainty of her
The women’s suffrage movement is in full swing in 1912 Portland, Oregon—the last holdout state on the West Coast. Miriam desperately wants to work at her father’s printing shop, but when he refuses she decides to dedicate herself to the suffrage movement, demanding rights for women and a different life for herself. Amidst the uncertainty of her future, Miriam’s attention is diverted by the mysterious Serakh, whose sudden, unexplained appearances and insistent questions lead Miriam to her grandmother’s Jewish prayer shawl—and to her destiny. With this shawl, Miriam is taken back in time to inspire the Daughters of Zelophehad, the first women in Biblical history to own land. Miriam brings the strength and courage of these women with her forward in time, emboldening her own struggles and illuminating what it means to be an independent woman.
Read an Excerpt
The grandfather clock ticked in the hall. Serakh stroked the blue thread with her free hand. “Miriam,” she said softly, “I cannot make you touch this thread, so I ask again for the sake of Tirtzah and our people. Tirtzah struggles to share in her father’s dream. Will you come?” I thought of Papa and that VOTE NO card. “I have problems with my father, too.” Serakh frowned. “Of that I am sure.” I was curious—who wouldn’t be? And it wasn’t as if Serakh was forcing me. Besides, what was the worst that could happen? I could still outrun her if things got any stranger, and we hadn’t even left the house yet. She gestured to the shawl again. I reached for the blue thread. An eerie blue glow spread over my fingers. I stared at her as I fought an urge to let go of the thread. “Who in heaven’s name are you?” Serakh didn’t answer. Instead she kissed my forehead and covered my hand in hers. My stomach felt queasy and a great crushing feeling squeezed my chest. Blue lightning crackled before my eyes. My world turned black.
Meet the Author
Ruth Tenzer Feldman is the author of numerous historical and political nonfiction books for children and young adults, including The Fall of Constantinople, Thurgood Marshall, Don’t Whistle in School: The History of America’s Public Schools, and How Congress Works. She holds degrees in both law and international relations, and has spent time working as a legislative attorney for the U.S. Department of Education. Ruth is an active member of local Jewish organizations and historical societies. She has spent countless hours researching Jewish history, women’s suffrage, and early twentieth century printing techniques to bring historical accuracy to Blue Thread, her first young adult novel.
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I really enjoyed this book, but I have always been a fan of history (especially women’s history), which this story was rich in. I felt that Ruth Tenzer Feldman really understood how to create a young adult character yet also appeal to an audience beyond just young adult. As a side note, I also felt that the story took a little while to really take off, but at the same time, Feldman was careful to set the story and draw her reader in (her descriptions of the different places and times were just perfect). I think some readers may not like that fact that the end was not tied up in a bow, but I like to think that the story goes on. Feldman did resolve what needed to be resolved and she perfectly encapsulated the feelings of frustration and determination that I am sure our early 20th century suffragists experienced.
Miriam's persistance and courage is a delight to read about.