Lesley Simpson

Lesley Simpson with Yuvi Tashome in Beit Shemesh, Israel

Reinventing candy trees!

Yuvi's Candy Tree

Yuvi's Candy Tree

Live from the launch in Beit Shemesh, Israel February 24-The benefit of sharing a story for the first time!

The following review appears in the February 7 issue of Publishers Weekly:

Yuvi's Candy Tree
Lesley Simpson, illus. by Janice Lee Porter, Kar-Ben, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-7613-5651-6; $7.95 paper ISBN 978-0-7613-5652-3
Five-year-old Yuvi narrates her tense exodus from Ethiopia to Israel in this story based on the real-life journey made by Yuvi Tashome, who was among thousands of Ethiopian Jews relocated, secretly at first, to Israel during the 1980s and '90s as part of Operations Moses and Solomon. Simpson (The Purim Surprise) and Porter (Blackberry Stew) convey the hardships faced by Yuvi, her relatives, and the other refugees (they are robbed three times), while providing reassurance in the form of references to the group's unshakable faith in their escape, and swooping, tableau-like paintings rendered in a comforting palette of desert yellows and cool blues. "We have angels with us. We'll fly home," Yuvi's grandmother repeatedly tells her. The eponymous candy tree represents the confidence instilled in Yuvi that a better life awaits (she comes to believe that the orange trees that line the road in Israel are indeed the candy trees she has dreamed of). Though neither the story nor the author's note explicitly state why the refugees are fleeing Ethiopia (mostly famine), readers should finish the book with a strong sense of their strength, faith, and determination. Ages 59. (Mar.)




Yuvi's Candy Tree is a picture book (for ages 5 to 9) based on the true story of Yuvi Tashome

Yuvi is five years old when she sneaks out of Ethiopia in the dark on a donkey. She fools robbers and makes it to a Sudanese refugee camp with her grandmother where they are later airlifted to Israel. Based on the true story of Ethiopian Israeli Yuvi Tashome.

Selected Works

Picture book
What happens when your wish comes true but everything goes wrong.
Yuvi's pluck helps her survive an extraordinary exodus from Ethiopia to Israel. Winner of the Media Award from Be'Chol Lashon for children's books for Jewish diversity
The Hug is the story of a hug with an identity complex.
"For innocent 6-year-olds, being Jewish is still a hopeful business. Ask Ira, star of The Shabbat Box by Lesley Simpson, illustrated by Nicole in den Bosch."
--Jerusalem Report December 2001
Naomi Levin's world turns upside down in more ways than she can imagine.

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