Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword

by Barry Deutsch

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Overview

Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!

Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!

A delightful mix of fantasy, adventure, cultural traditions, and preteen commotion, Hereville will captivate middle-school readers with its exciting visuals and entertaining new heroine.




Accolades and Praise for Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword •Sydney Taylor Award
•Eisner nomination
•Harvey nomination
•Ignatz nomination
•Nebula nomination

"Utterly ingenious." —Kirkus, starred review

"Withouth a doubt, the best graphic novel of 2010 for kids. Bar None."—School Library Journal, starred review

"A terrific story, told with skill and lots of heart."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Mirka is a spunky, emotionally realistic, and fun heroine."—Booklist, starred review

"Sequel, please!"—Horn Book Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781419706196
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 10/01/2012
Series: Hereville Series , #1
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 463,685
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Barry Deutsch attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and Portland State University. He won the national Charles M. Schulz Award for Best College Cartoonist in 2000 and was nominated for the 2008 Russ Manning Award for Promising Newcomer. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit him online at www.hereville.com.

Customer Reviews

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Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautifully made graphic novel about Mirka, an Orthodox Jewish girl, which introduces the reader to a well-functioning community without any comment on the "whys" but rather the "hows" of daily life in such a community. It is at its core a story about a little girl gaining her independence without breaking away, but with some fantasy and mythological elements to it. I have a tiny issue with the skill needed for Mirka to succeed in her task, but it's minor and is absolutely overshadowed by the drawing style, the lovely story telling, and the characters. It's definitely a story for younger readers, but is very readable for people of any age.
bookmolady on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First graphic novel for me. Mirka chafes against the roles imposed on her as a girl in a totally fictional orthodox village. She wants to fight dragons, to be a real heroine. Despite being told that she cannot because she is a girl, Mirka is determined. Her first major battle is with a talking pig, a pig she has enraged to the point where it tells her, "I will never forgive you. I will rip the chupa at your wedding! I will take your firstborn child! I will knock over the casket at your funeral!" Mirka eventually triumphs and wins a sword in a surprising contest of skills she didn't know would be helpful in her quest to become a true hero. I hope there are more books to follow.
lilibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mirka wants to fight monsters, an activity not encouraged by her orthodox Jewish family. After meeting a witch in the woods, Mirka defeats some bullies, overwhelms a monstrous talking pig and gains a sword from a troll while learning that the womanly arts her stepmother stresses may not be useless after all.
raizel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book: it has a spunky heroine, who happens to be Orthodox, fantasy, lots of pictures---it's a graphic novel, afterall, and seems to provide a very good picture of what it is like to live in an Orthodox community, BUT there is a glaring error about the Jewish Sabbath starting when there are three stars in the sky! This is such a basic mistake, that it makes me wonder how accurate all the other details of everyday life are. Perhaps this was the result of a "helpful" editor "fixing" the text. (Admittedly, everything else sounded realistic to me.) There also seems to be a missing backstory that would explain how Mirka's stepmother knows so much about monsters from non-Jewish folklore. I suspect that there are feminist undertones to the book. Mirka doesn't want to learn feminine tasks such as knitting, although this turns out to be an invaluable skill, but she also comes to realize that her stepmother's abilities include more than traditional womanly arts.
NicolLH on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An interesting introduction to some of the aspects of the Orthodox Jewish culture in a graphic novel format for kids, however the plot is rather thin and seems to exist mostly as a means of introducing these elements.
lawral on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Deutsch's illustrations and text compliment each other beautifully, speeding things up in suspenseful moments and slowing things down when Mirka is doing the same. Part of this may be due to the subdued colors (most of the book is in shades of tan, with nighttime scenes in blues and purples) which allow the text and images to blend well together. But I think the real reason I was able to get into this in a way that rarely happens for me with graphic novels is that it's based on a comic, and you can tell. Deutsch makes the text part of the picture. It's not all POWs like in a superhero comic, but it's all still integrated, making it very easy to read.Mirka lives with her father, step-mother, brother and 7(!) sisters in Hereville, an insular Orthodox Jewish community. Throughout the book there are some things about Orthodox life that are explained to the reader, such as the importance of the Shabbos and the differences between rebel, pious, and popular Orthodox girls. Yiddish words used in the text are also defined in footnotes on each applicable page. Still, for the most part, Deutsch forgoes the explanations of or about the Orthodox faith or lifestyle and instead shows them in action through Mirka. For example, she never hits the older boys who are bullying her brother with her hands, but with sticks and rocks (it's warranted and not violent). Later one warns her that the rules forbidding unmarried people of the opposite sex to touch each other will not save her from retribution (p68).But rather than being a book all about an Orthodox Jewish girl, Hereville is primarily a book about a young girl who wants to slay dragons and meets a witch. Mirka's encounters with the witch (and her pig and the troll) are satisfyingly creepy without being too scary, and Mirka's over the top bravery and rash judgment fail her a couple of times. She has fights with her siblings, she sticks up for her little brother, she bonds with her step-mother. Mirka is just a normal girl with some adventurous dreams and aspirations.Book source: This was a wonderful Christmas present!
Marared9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. The subtitle alone sold me: "yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl." That was enough to get me to order the book and sit down to read it as soon as it arrived. The author does a wonderful job of setting the story in an Orthodox Jewish town with all the religious implications and cultural references that are unfamiliar to people outside the culture, while still letting the story tell itself without degenerating into a diatribe or morality tale.After reading the first 10 pages or so, I thought, "my daughter would love this book, but she's bound to get lost in all the culture-specific vocabulary". It was then that I noticed the asterisked footnotes "translating" the unfamiliar words and ideas for those who aren't familiar with the context. This makes the book accessible without burying it in explanations.The story is told in the form of a graphic novel and relates the adventures of Mirka, who really just wants to fight a dragon, but first needs to take on a protective brother, an intelligent pig, and a troll. Hilarious story with hilarious illustrations. I was very pleased with the graphic novel format here, as it added to rather than detracted from the story. Sometimes graphic novels for kids are an attempt to dumb down the content or they are so poorly executed they make your teeth hurt. In this case the format really compliments the story and adds important nuances that convey personality and subtle details of the story.Great idea, great execution. My daughter and her friends are in for a treat.
abbylibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Graphic novel about an Orthodox Jewish girl who wants to be a dragon slayer. A perfect blend of adventure, humor, and cultural education. Highly recommended!
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved the art and I loved the story. Mirka battles a troll in a most unexpected way to earn her sword.
Lawral More than 1 year ago
Deutsch's illustrations and text compliment each other beautifully, speeding things up in suspenseful moments and slowing things down when Mirka is doing the same. Part of this may be due to the subdued colors (most of the book is in shades of tan, with nighttime scenes in blues and purples) which allow the text and images to blend well together. But I think the real reason I was able to get into this in a way that rarely happens for me with graphic novels is that it's based on a comic, and you can tell. Deutsch makes the text part of the picture. It's not all POWs like in a superhero comic, but it's all still integrated, making it very easy to read. Mirka lives with her father, step-mother, brother and 7(!) sisters in Hereville, an insular Orthodox Jewish community. Throughout the book there are some things about Orthodox life that are explained to the reader, such as the importance of the Shabbos and the differences between rebel, pious, and popular Orthodox girls. Yiddish words used in the text are also defined in footnotes on each applicable page. Still, for the most part, Deutsch forgoes the explanations of or about the Orthodox faith or lifestyle and instead shows them in action through Mirka. For example, she never hits the older boys who are bullying her brother with her hands, but with sticks and rocks (it's warranted and not violent). Later one warns her that the rules forbidding unmarried people of the opposite sex to touch each other will not save her from retribution (p68). But rather than being a book all about an Orthodox Jewish girl, Hereville is primarily a book about a young girl who wants to slay dragons and meets a witch. Mirka's encounters with the witch (and her pig and the troll) are satisfyingly creepy without being too scary, and Mirka's over the top bravery and rash judgment fail her a couple of times. She has fights with her siblings, she sticks up for her little brother, she bonds with her step-mother. Mirka is just a normal girl with some adventurous dreams and aspirations. Book source: This was a wonderful Christmas present!