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David and Max
     

David and Max

by Gail Provost Stockwell
 

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Twelve-year-old David takes his basketball along on summer vacation, hoping to find a court and some friends at the beach community. Whatever happens, he knows that he can count on Max, his grandfather, for good times and lots of laughs. He finds much more. Unexpectedly, David and Max, along with David’s new friend Candy, become caught up in a search for a man

Overview

Twelve-year-old David takes his basketball along on summer vacation, hoping to find a court and some friends at the beach community. Whatever happens, he knows that he can count on Max, his grandfather, for good times and lots of laughs. He finds much more. Unexpectedly, David and Max, along with David’s new friend Candy, become caught up in a search for a man Max thought had died in the Holocaust. Slowly, David learns about Max’s terrible years during World War II, information that Max had never intended to tell. As he comes to terms with Max’s horrific memories, David grows to understand more about the meaning of honesty—and about himself.

Editorial Reviews

Philadelphia Inquirer
"A good book for all children ... to gain more understanding of the Holocaust and how it affected their grandparents' generation."
ALA Booklist
"Intriguing ... humorous and lively..."
Children's Literature - Debbie Levy
On a family vacation in a seaside Massachusetts, David's grandfather, Max, becomes convinced that he has seen a childhood friend from Poland. Max is a Holocaust concentration camp survivor, and for sixty years he thought his friend perished at the hands of the Nazis. Other members of the family think that Max is imagining his old friend. But David believes his grandfather, and makes it his mission to figure out whether the elusive figure is, in fact, his grandfather's long-lost friend. This is a new and updated edition of a novel originally published in 1998. The new version sets David, his grandfather, and the other characters firmly in the present day, but this creates challenges for the story. For example, discussions about the Holocaust have been almost nonexistent in David's family. This was perhaps typical in Jewish families of survivors in the twentieth century. But today, schools around the country teach Holocaust units. The author has David acknowledge this; she even has him refer to the recent Holocaust-related movie, Paper Clips. In this modern setting, the secrecy in which Max, as well as David's parents, shroud the Holocaust strikes a slightly false note. This is not to deny the power and tragedy in Max's story. But young readers could certainly relate to the original story, set in an earlier time, when discussion and learning about the Holocaust was much less open, and therefore the mystery in which Max wrapped his history would seem more natural. Yes, by updating the story the author can give David and his family cell phones and their conversations can reflect modern cultural references. But it is not at all clear that this story required a more modern setting.The resulting incongruity seems an unnecessary price to pay for a 2006 setting.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 The underlying themes of this book are memory and the Holocaust. However, unlike many recent books where the emphasis is on keeping the memory alive, this one has as its key the fading memory of an old man. When David's grandfather, Max, thinks that he has seen an old friend who was thought to have been killed during the war, everyone except David thinks that the old man's mind is playing tricks on him. David is convinced that Max is right, and he begins a quest to find Max' friend. He also, for the first time in his life, begins to learn about the Holocaust, and about his grandfather's experiences. When Max has a heart attack, David is more determined than ever to find Bernie Bauer, Max' old friend, but the man he finds denies knowing anything about Max. Only after Max' funeral does Bernie finally admit his identity to David. This novel operates on many levels; the Holocaust is an obvious theme, but the book also shows the close relationship between a young boy and his grandparents. The characters are, on the whole, believable, but Bernie is irritating. Although he tries to explain why he waffled about his identity, it just doesn't ring true. That's a shame, because it does a disservice to an otherwise good book. Susan M. Harding, Mesquite Public Library, Tex.
Jewish Book World
"This beautiful book, originally published in 1988, has been newly updated and revised. None of the compelling style of the original edition has been lost . . . . This book is replete with wonderful values of friendship and family and honesty."—Jewish Book World
Mary R. Motew
"David and Max sets a new standard for young fiction. A charming and funny story of a grandfather and grandson woven deftly around a deeper and darker tale . . . sensitive, honest, and all the more powerful for its brave simplicity. This book is a treasure for any middle grade. . . English, social studies or civics classes. Its treatment of poignant and topical issues such as homelessness, divorce, and especially the Holocaust is unparalleled in its age group."—Mary R. Motew, Adjunct Professor, Worcester State College, Worcester, MA;

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780827611764
Publisher:
The Jewish Publication Society
Publication date:
01/01/2015
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
185
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
10 Years

Meet the Author

Gail Provost Stockwell is the National Jewish Book Award and 2007 Skipping Stones Honor Award winning author of David and Max.  Gail Provost Stockwell and her late husband, Gary Provost, are the authors of three award-winning novels for children, including Good If It Goes, a winner of the National Jewish Book Award. They created and have taught at nationwide writing seminars and founded the Writers Retreat Workshop.

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