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Oskar and the Eight Blessings

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4.41  ·  Rating details ·  698 ratings  ·  163 reviews
A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city's many ...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 8th 2015 by Roaring Brook Press
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Average rating 4.41  · 
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Lisa Vegan
Lovely story and pictures! Great map of Manhattan in NYC circa 1938 at the end of the book that shows Oskar’s journey and the events/people he encounters along the way. There is a touching and informative author’s note at the end too. Great story for Hanukkah, and as a gentle introduction to the Holocaust, and even for Christmas too, for historical fiction NYC, and a wonderful story about perseverance and kindnesses and finding the good there is to be found. I followed along with Oskar as he ...more
Antoinette
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: christmas-books
" Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings." So says Oskar's father to him as he embarks on his own for America. The date is Dec 23,1938 and Oskar is Jewish.
He arrives in New York with an address and a picture of his Aunt Esther. As he walks to get to her place, "blessings" greet him along the way.
This is a beautifully illustrated child's book with a lovely message.
Kayla Edwards
A beautiful story about a young immigrant's arrival in New York City. As Oskar travels to his aunt's house, he learns that even the smallest encounters can be blessings. The illustrations in this one are gorgeous and compliment the story so well. I'll definitely be reading this one during the holiday season!
Linda
It gives me shivers when a book comes along at just the right time, and this book, lying on my shelf for weeks, suddenly became one I wanted to read. It’s a made-up story, based on history of the Hanukah, then Christmas in New York City, 1938. Richard Simon also connects one of his grandfather’s stories to it, a choice of staying in America during this time, or returning to Lithuania.
Oskar’s family felt blessed, and the story begins, “until the Night of Broken Glass”. He was put on a ship to
...more
Douglas
This book is entirely unfair. It's the story of Oskar, a young immigrant from Germany sent to America by his parents after Kristalnacht. The last words his father says to him before setting him on the boat is, "blessings are everywhere, you just have to look for them." The book itself is focused on the long trek from the port to his aunt's house on the last night of Hanukkah which happens to be Christmas Eve in this story. Oskar runs into and meets people and indeed discovers that blessings are ...more
Tasha
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Oskar survived Kristallnacht in Nazi Europe and has been sent by his family to live with his aunt in New York City. When he arrives, he has to walk over 100 blocks down Broadway to reach her, hopefully before she lights the menorah at sunset. Along the way, Oskar is reminded again and again about looking for blessings in life. He is given bread by a woman feeding the birds, a comic book by the man who runs the newsstand, mittens by a boy in the park. But most of all in his long walk in the cold, ...more
Jenny
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Manybooks
4.5 stars...this was such a beautiful and touching book!! Oskar leaves Europe to head to an unknown aunt in America after Kristallnacht. Before he departs on the ship, his father says, "Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings."

When Oskar arrives, he has a long walk before him in order to reach his aunt's home. He is tired and hungry and it is the 7th day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. He sets off on his journey. As he travels, a woman is feeding the
...more
Abigail
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Holiday Stories That Emphasize Our Common Humanity
Shortly after the events of Kristallnacht, a young German Jewish boy named Oskar is put on a ship to America by his parents, sent to live in safety with his Aunt Esther in New York City. "Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good," his father tells him, "You have to look for the blessings." Set on the seventh day of Hanukkah in 1938 - a day which also happened to be Christmas Eve - this is the story of eight blessings that came into Oskar's life, in the form of eight people he met on his ...more
Patrick
Sep 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
What I really enjoyed about this book was the message of looking for kindness and blessings all around us every day; even in the hardest of times. Quite often we are so caught up in the forest we are unable to see the trees. We think so much on the negative that we are unable to recognize the small, intimate blessings and kindness that we encounter every day.

I also liked that this book focused on a Jewish character without being exclusively about a holiday, historic or religious aspect. Though
...more
Calista
HOPE! This little amazing book is about hope and keeping hope alive when life is scary. Powerful, the writing and story are very powerful.

Oskar was put on a ship by himself during Kristallnacht and sent to NYC to find his Aunt Ester. He had to walk up Broadway by himself to 103rd street. He is tired and scared and he meets wonderful people along the way. This is like Mister Rogers mother's saying. In any disaster look for the helpers, they are always there.

It is Christmas Eve and always the
...more
Annette Vellenga
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Part of the joy of reading books is the sheer amount of variety one gets. Just as Knights is a quick fun read, Oskar and the Eight Blessings, is a book that you want to take your time. Walking with Oskar who is learning to look for blessings even in the middle of bad times and in the process learning to be a blessing himself. It's a quiet read which had my boy looking pensive. "Why would that boy's mom and dad send him away? Did he break the glass and they were mad at him mom?" And so one ...more
Melanie
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I may have already mentioned that I love Christmas books. I especially love the ones that aren't as much about Santa as they are about the spirit of the season, that glowy, happy feeling that you get that time of year. (And yes, my library got a bunch of new Christmas picture books today, which is why I'm reviewing several.) Anyway, Oskar and the Eight Blessings isn't exactly a Christmas book, even though it takes place on New Year's Eve, because Oskar is Jewish. However, it isn't exactly a ...more
Jeff Chase
Oct 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't often buy or read children's books; my kids are grown, and my granddaughters live far away. However, Oskar has a story that we would all do well to read and heed. The last page brought a tear to my eye, but not because of sadness. I would enjoy reading this book to my granddaughters, and I would enjoy the discussions that would ensue.

The illustrations were especially effective in showing the cold and fatigue that Oskar must have been feeling. Any author that can work Superman into a book
...more
Patricia Tilton
Dec 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This Hanukkah story, set in 1938, is timeless and should be shared with children no matter what tradition they celebrate. Compassion and kindness towards others is not limited to color, race or culture. This is a story of hope for humanity.

This heartwarming story captures the best of New York and its residents who welcome Oskar to their city through their generous spirits and acts of kindness as he walks 100 blocks to his aunt's house. It is the essence of what America is about, welcoming
...more
Lisa
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wise advice from a loving father to a son, "Even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings." True during the holidays, times of unrest and war, everyday of our lives. A part of everyday is wonderful or magical; you must have the heart to look for it and appreciate it. The book's suggested age range is Pre-K to 2nd grade. IMO, it is more appropriate for 2nd grade and older. The story is heartwarming. There are many teachable moments and topics. What better time than ...more
Jason
Nov 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I honestly liked this book, but was bothered the whole time by why his aunt didn't meet him at the boat. I mean, you're taking a huge risk that this kid is going to get hopelessly lost in a huge city. Also, someday he's going to wish he hadn't traded that Superman comic for those mittens. That was a tough scene for a collector to witness! Hopefully at least the kid who got it saved it :). Siegel's art creates a lovely atmosphere that captures NYC in winter really well.
Diane
Nov 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Very appropriate for today's times, even though this is set post-WWII.
Marika Gillis
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
This is a lovely story, especially around this time of year. I might need to read this to myself and my children every night this season to remind myself of the good-heartedness of humanity.
Theresa
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christmas, childrens
A wonderful story for Children of any faith. Oskar is Jewish but New York is alive with Christmas. It is a heart warming story of always looking for the good.
Alex  Baugh
Dec 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tonight is the seventh night of Hanukkah, so I thought I would share this review of a story that takes place on that night, and that I originally wrote for my other blog, The Children's War.

Shortly after Kristalnacht
(November 9-10, 1938), young Oskar's parents decide to send him to America to live in New York City with his Aunt Esther, whom he has never met. Before he leaves, his father gives him some parting words of advice:

"Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the
...more
Rachel Hilton
Summary:
Oskar, who is a young refugee boy from Kristallnacht, was forced on a ship to New York city by his parents because of the Holocaust. Oskar was only sent with a photograph and an address for his aunt that lived in New York. Once he arrived, he went searching for the address of his aunt, knowing that it was both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, so he knew he needed to hurry and find this house. Along the way, Oskar had many encounters with strangers and they blessed him with
...more
Annette
OSKAR AND THE EIGHT BLESSINGS by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon is the heartwarming story of a new immigrant arriving in America in 1938.

Oskar has just arrived in New York City. It’s the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. As a new immigrant escaping the War, he’s trying to find his aunt’s house. Along the way he meets rich and poor, black and white, as well as anonymous and famous people. Acts of kindness from these individuals help him on his holiday journey to a new life.

The poignant
...more
Jillian
Dec 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully told, beautifully illustrated tale of a young Jewish refugee and the day he arrives in New York. Oskar has several brushes with history while trying to find his American aunt without getting lost, or frozen, or run over by a car: he meets a couple very important people and (for a brief time) owns a copy of the very FIRST issue of Superman. (I have to admit, when he gave it away later, I wanted to yell NOOOOO!)
It's a magnificent book, giving a snapshot of Christmas Eve, 1938, as it
...more
Tanja
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Beautiful picture book. Loved the illustrations as well as the story that shows that there is goodness in people all around us, we just need to keep our eyes open. While I at times struggled with the fact that Oskar on his own seemed to find his way so easily around a country, a city he had never been to, I loved the story and its hopeful message very much. Inspired by a story the author's grandfather used to tell him: three rabbis who had traveled to New York to find him to make him the new ...more
Margaux
When a book makes me cry, I give it five stars.

After The Night of Broken Glass, Oskar has to travel alone to America to stay with his aunt. He doesn't know the city at all, just that his father said to have faith in people. When he arrives on the 7th day of Hanukkah (Christmas Eve), he is just about out of hope. But soon he realizes that not all the people around him are out to get him, that there is kindness inside even those we least expect (a book vendor, a wealthy woman, a little boy
...more
Pam
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The combination of an interesting story full of history, life lessons, and adventure combined with fantastic illustrations make this a wonderful book! This story and its illustrations open so many avenues for discussion from the holidays, religion, the Great Depression, Eleanor Roosevelt and so many more. Likewise the author has used so many ties to current culture that will help the kids connect their interests with Oskar's. I really appreciated the Author's Note and the map. This is a great ...more
Lupinus Texensis
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: judaica, childrens
Oskar's mother and father believed in the power of blessings. So did Oskar...until the Night of Broken glass. His parents put him on a ship to America. He had nothing but an address and a photo of a woman he didn't know-- "It's your Aunt Esther" -- and his father's last words to him...

Oskar knows his Aunt Esther will be lighting the menorah at sunset, on the seventh day of Hanukkah which was also Christmas Eve of 1938, but first he has to walk more than a hundred blocks of Broadway Avenue to
...more
paula
Serious, but with a happy ending. A little weepy, in a good way. Oskar is all alone in New York City, having been sent to America by his parents after Kristallnacht. It's the first night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, and as Oskar makes his way north on Broadway he is touched by the kindness of strangers both rich and poor. Including Eleanor Roosevelt, if you look closely.

All my picks for best books to give this holiday are at http://www.unadulterated.us/pink-me/2...
Martha
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was on a list of WSJ books to read/give to children during the Christmas season. In 1938 Oskar is sent alone by his parents from their home in Germany to the US. His father's last words are "seek out the good in people". Oskar arrives in NYC on the seventh day of Chanukah which also happens to be Christmas Eve. He must walk 100 blocks to find his Aunt Esther. He in unprepared for the bitter cold. Along the way, Oskar meets several people who help him on his journey. Beautifully ...more
Beverly
Reviewed for the Mock Caldecott Awards. The story of a young German boy who, after Kristallnacht, was sent to America to stay with his aunt and how various strangers helped him find his way. During his journey he encounters events that were significant to America at that particular time: Eleanor Roosevelt, Superman and Count Basie. The illustrations are very detailed and the colors are done in beautiful soft tones.
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I'm the co-author with Victoria Bond of Zora and Me, winner of the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent, nominated for an Edgar, and winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award. With my husband Richard Simon and NYT bestselling illustrator Mark Siegel, I am the co-author of Oskar and the Eight Blessings, winner of a National Jewish Book Award for children's literature. My most recent ...more
“Oskar is the fruit of those fantasies -- the idea that what needed to be saved was not just lives but hope.” 1 likes
“Oskar's particular blessings are blessings that only a major cosmopolitan city can bestow on a refugee. They represent all our potential to survive and even thrive in the face of great loss.” 1 likes
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