Ethel's Song: Ethel Rosenberg's Life in Poems

Ethel's Song: Ethel Rosenberg's Life in Poems

by Barbara Krasner
Ethel's Song: Ethel Rosenberg's Life in Poems

Ethel's Song: Ethel Rosenberg's Life in Poems

by Barbara Krasner


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Convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union against the United States, Ethel Rosenberg shares the story of her beliefs, loves, secrets, betrayals, and injustices in this compelling YA novel in verse.

In 1953, Ethel Rosenberg, a devoted wife and loving mother, faces the electric chair. People say she’s a spy, a Communist, a red. How did she get here? In a series of heart-wrenching poems, Ethel tells her story. The child of Jewish immigrants, Ethel Greenglass grows up on New York City’s Lower East Side. She dreams of being an actress and a singer but finds romance and excitement in the arms of the charming Julius Rosenberg. Both are ardent supporters of rights for workers, but are they spies? Who is passing atomic secrets to the Soviets? Why does everyone seem out to get them?
This first book for young readers about Ethel Rosenberg is a fascinating portrait of a commonly misunderstood figure from American history, and vividly relates a story that continues to have relevance today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781635926255
Publisher: Astra Publishing House
Publication date: 09/13/2022
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 525,189
Product dimensions: 6.28(w) x 9.27(h) x 0.99(d)
Lexile: NP (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Barbara Krasner is the author of many books across genres, including fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, and children’s literature. Her recent titles include 37 Days at Sea: Aboard the M.S. St. Louis, 1939, Civilian Casualties in War and Ethel’s Song: Ethel Rosenberg’s Life in Poems. Her book Goldie Takes a Stand! Golda Meir’s First Crusade was a recipient of the Sydney Taylor Honor Award. She holds a Ph.D. in Holocaust & Genocide Studies from Gratz College, teaches in the Holocaust & Genocide Studies Program at The College of New Jersey, and serves as director of the Mercer County Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education Center. She also holds an MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Read an Excerpt

In a nondescript tenement on a nondescript street,
we live behind Papa’s sewing machine repair shop. He bends over his machine as poverty bends over us.
Machine shops line the street like tight stitches in a seam,
leaning on each other to make a single straight pattern of income.

I become anyone I want.
I go anywhere I please.
I say anything that comes to me.
I make words dance.
When I sing, when I act,
I am in charge, I make the rules.
I rise above this ugly Lower East Side,
the tenement buildings that fold into each other,
The Yiddish babble of fish for sale.
On stage with an opera company,
I am Barbarina, singing soprano in Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro.
After my aria, audiences erupt in rambunctious applause.
On stage with a repertory troupe,
I am Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Audiences detonate in waves of cheers.
They say, “Boy, can she act? And how!”

Every Saturday, Ohrbach’s department store workers carry signs
Unfair labor!
On strike against meager wages against increased working hours at the same pay outside its department store on East 14th Street.
Every Saturday, Ohrbach’s workers hope they can make a difference.
Every Saturday, people think workers standing up for their rights is a bad thing. They hurl
Communist labels at workers.
Every Saturday people yell,
“Marxists!” “Reds!” at the workers.
Every Saturday is Ohrbach’s
Day when police arrest the workers but this July Saturday
I serenade the picketers:
Don’t despair!
Carry on!

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