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How Mirka Got Her Sword

(Hereville #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  7,259 ratings  ·  842 reviews
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, b
Hardcover, 144 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Amulet Books
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  7,259 ratings  ·  842 reviews

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Jun 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
“Yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl,” says the byline. Well seriously. How was I supposed to pass that up? I’d grabbed a copy of Hereville at an American Library Association conference along with a whole host of other books. I don’t think I even gave it half a glance at the time. Just nabbed, stuffed, and scooted. It was only back in the comfort of my hotel room as I repacked my bags that the byline got my attention. I sat down for a quick look. Twenty minutes later I wa ...more
Adam Silvera
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-reads
Finished this between two train rides. Very awesome and very fast read. Definitely picking up subsequent volumes.
I found it a great idea to put a Jewish family into a fantasy story. Mirka is a headstrong girl and she wants to fight dragons. One day she eats fruit from a witches garden and makes an enemy of the witch. The witch becomes a pig and chases here mercilessly and eats her homework. Finally, she save the witch and the witch does her a turn. The end is quite cute and I can almost guarantee no one has written an ending this this one.

I like the idea of the story, but I didn't love the story sadly. I

The tag-line for this book says, “Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl.” Because you can never have enough of those, right?

Mirka lives with her large family (father, stepmother, six sisters, one brother, one stepsister) in Hereville, an isolated Orthodox Jewish community which seems to exist suspended in space and time (J.K. Rowling is name-checked, so it’s somewhere in the present, but everyone speaks Yiddish). She’s happy and busy, but her life is just a teeny bit borin
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
This is a fun graphic novel about a spunky girl named Mirka who is determined to be a heroine, preferably by fighting dragons. However, Mirka lives in an orthodox Jewish community named Hereville, with a demanding stepmother, lots of siblings and a bunch of naysayers in town who pester her about her marriage prospects.

Mirka's adventure begins when she finds a mysterious house in the woods and eats some delicious grapes from the garden. But a witch lives in the house, and the witch is so upset ab
May 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
There's such a delightful fairy tale feel to this book. Though much of the story is rooted in humdrum reality, it hints that magic may be lurking just around the corner.

Eleven-year-old Mirka has a stepmother, and while she may not be an EVIL stepmother, she wants Mirka to learn how to knit. Horrors!
Young Mirka would rather be using those knitting needles for stabbing dragons than for making socks!

While her everyday life is filled with argumentative siblings, bullies, and the drudgery of schoolw
Dave Schaafsma
Unique story angle: an Orthodox Jewish girl living in a Jewish community who wants to fight trolls. The Yiddish and other Jewish Orthodox cultural/religious details feel real and authentic to me, and the talk always seems real.. This isn't great art, but it's lively and interesting and I was surprised to like it so much. Children's graphic novel! ...more
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is a book that I picked up because I really liked the plot summary: a young girl who's determined to be a dragonslayer. Sounds right up my alley! The cover wasn't doing much for me, though, and middle grade comics don't always thrill me, so I wasn't expecting much. I was very pleasantly surprised.

Hereville is a small, Orthodox community, and this is a book that feels very Jewish indeed. I can see where this could an exciting book for a young reader who can see herself and her family in Mirk
Jul 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, kids
Let's get the obvious comments over with. Yes. This is a graphic novel where the brave heroine is an 11 year-old Orthodox Jewish girl. This is definitely not something you see every day. However, it's not treated as a novelty, and while the reader will learn about Orthodox Judaism and its practices, it is not done in an overly didactic manner. Mirka is a bit of a rebel in some ways, but overall she's true to her family and her beliefs without sacrificing her need for adventure.
I used to work as
Jan 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
I loved this odd and beguiling graphic novel, which seems to be Barry Deutsch's first book. Anyone who likes graphic novels with a dollop of fantasy should read it. Anybody with an interest in Orthodox Jewish life should read it. Anyone who loves family stories with lots of siblings (plus a not at all wicked step-mother) should read it. Anyone who falls into all three categories has hit the jackpot. If the author goes on to write lots of sequels I will be happy, and I will read them. And yet...t ...more
Skye Kilaen
The subtitle for this all-ages graphic novel is "yet another troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl" which gives you an idea of how unique this book is. One of the guys at my local comic shop won't read it because it has a talking pig in it, but he's missing out. I have told him this repeatedly. (Hi Eric!) It's this wonderful mix of fantasy, magic, an 11 year old girl who craves adventure, her loving family's dynamics, and a window into life in her community and culture. The followup bo ...more
Deborah Markus
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
And now – another thrilling episode of Deborah Forgot When Her Library Books Were Due Back So Now She Has To Write 17 Reviews In One Day!

So: here's a graphic novel whose main character is an 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl who lives in a tiny, rural village. I am a 47-year-old non-theist, formerly Roman Catholic, who lives in a big screaming city.

I might love this story because of the magic of contrast; but why can I also relate so hard to the main character?

Because adventures.

Mirka wants nothi
Nov 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Okay this book is like 6 shades of awesome. It’s just freaking wonderful. See Mirka wants to slay dragons, but her stepmother (who is not evil) just wants her to learn how to knit. Mirka is also an Orthodox Jew so there is a certain issue about her future.

Then one day she sees a witch. Then the following day, she runs into a monster.

Okay, it’s really a pig, but she hasn’t seen one before.

This is absolutely funny, touching, wonderful, feminist, and perfect! Have a daughter? Get her this? Hone
Asghar Abbas
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing

A Jewish Flavia de Luce :) (yep, a smiley face in my review )

This right here, folks, is what graphic novels are all about.


The good one, at least.

Purely imaginative and highly recommended.

I loved how when Mirka was hiding from the bullies at the beginning, a White Rabbit was right there sitting next to her and the exchange with her stepmom about the dragons was hilarious. Also, I didn't realize pigs could have such personalities and can be funny , too. Though I wish the religious elemen
Nathaniel Wyckoff
Jan 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
The recent revival of traditional Jewish life has produced refreshing by-product: an innovative and engaging crop of literary works for adults and children alike. The latest wave of Jewish writers either express a confident identity and a positive commitment to traditional life or acknowledge that such committed Jews exist. These writers develop characters who are comfortable among their fellow Jews, who live secure, family-centered Jewish lives, and who are fully capable of confronting - and ov ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was ok
11-year-old Mirka Herschberg from Hereville resents her stepmother's attempts to teach her knitting and how to be a proper Jewish wife. Mirka would much rather have a sword than knitting needles. She starts her career as a heroine by facing the big boys who bully her little brother. While hiding from the bullies, Mirka is surprised to see a house away from the village with a beautiful garden. She is even more astonished to see a woman floating above the garden! When no one believes her tale, and ...more
Feb 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Huh. I've never read a book before with this particular mix of cultural information and magic realism.
I liked that we were being introduced to many aspects of Orthodox Jewish culture, but it did feel a bit instructional at times. I'm not sure kids will connect with it.
I enjoyed the part where the kids didn't recognize a pig, and how that blended into acceptance of the magical elements of the story. I liked how the stepmother's plotline tied into the primary storyline.

The illustrations serve t
Nancy Kotkin
Story: 5 stars
Art: 4 stars

Children's graphic novel with Orthodox Jewish characters and some fantasy elements thrown into the mix. Characterization is superb. Story line is interesting. Very original series. Art is above average.

I've never encountered a children's book that incorporates religion so well into the story. The Jewish-ness isn't just an incidental part of the characters to add some flavor; it defines who the characters are. The Jewish customs and culture are woven tightly into the plo
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I'll admit it; I don't usually read graphic novels. I have trouble following the flow of the speech bubbles and they make me feel like an old person. (Wah.) This one, however -- Aaah! All smiles. I picked it up because of the subtitle: Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl. If that doesn't make you curious . . . And, even better, by 13-year-old (not Orthodox) Jewish girl loved it! And, even better, there are surprises! And, rare for a YA-ish book, the heroine does not have ...more
Jedi JC Daquis
Jun 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
"Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl" is a peculiar modifier-sardined tagline which is effective enough to make me buy the graphic novel. The first in the Hereville series, How Mirka Got Her Sword swarms with Jewish customs imbued with fairy tale elements, resulting to a bewitching story. Think about Mirka as a female, Jewish and often fiery version of Peter Parker who always wanted to be a heroine while, like Spidey, has to go with a normal life in her friendly neighborh ...more
I really liked the art, the story was just ok. Not super exciting though billed as an adventure story. But, graphic novel heroes continue to be largely male, so the strong female hero is appealing; the Yiddish words with inobtrusive definitions are fun too. And the panel with the giant challah bread made me hungry.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'm really starting to think that graphic novels just aren't my thing. Premise was wonderful and a lot to love (especially for me, I say cryptically!) But I can't sink into the reading experience the way I can with a book book. ...more
Rebecca Einstein
Aug 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
What a delightful read. Looking forward to introducing it to my kids. [Yes, I read YA books even though I'm nearly forty!] ...more
Althea J.
Mar 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Delightful!! Mirka is headstrong and funny (as is her stepmom). I loved the interactions between the siblings. My heart kvells over the incorporation of the Yiddish and Jewish ritual. Can’t wait to read the other books in the series.
Jul 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite graphic novels so far! And a favorite with my students as well. Looking at the checkout history, can I just mention that the last student to check it out was a boy whose home language is Arabic? I think that says something about what a good job it does at being a universally kickass story. The art is GREAT, I love that the kids are all kind of frumpy looking and have mean sibling expressions on half the time, it makes you instantly feel at home in Hereville. And then the famil ...more
Mar 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mg, ya, fantasy, graphic-novel
This is an absolutely delightful mixture of fairy tale elements: top-notch debater stepmothers, homework-stealing pigs, modern witches, and, of course, a wonderfully feisty heroine. Deutsch crafts a hero's journey with so many inventive twists it feels fresh, almost unfamiliar. But under all the crazy fantasy details, the story has true heart, and plenty of insight into being a preteen girl.

This story works perfectly as a comic book - you just can't achieve the same with any other media. However
Jun 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I always pick up a comic that has a female main character and Hereville is everything I was hoping for. Jewish girl Mirka really wants to fight monsters but her step mother and siblings want her to calm down, do her chores and behave well so she will be paired with a nice husband.

Mirka, however, seeks out adventure and she certainly finds it! Through the story, Mirka finds a witch's house, gets stalked and harassed by a pig and eventually earns her own sword.

I really liked how the author used
I like that the protagonist is an Orthodox Jewish girl who wants to slay dragons. I also like that knitting was involved. I don't love the art style, and I didn't really connect with Mirka. Also, there's something about this book that made me think about how sometimes heroes do a lot of slaying, and that just doesn't strike me as something to value. I mean, it's nice if you can save a village or whatever from being eaten, but slaying dragons for the heck of it actually seems like it might be a r ...more
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
There is so much to like about this book: the humorous and very realistic treatment of the family dynamics between stepmother and children, between siblings, and between neighbors; the expressiveness of the faces and the bodies; the magical realistic setting and all the references of Orthodox Jewish traditions; and the pure energy and joy of knowing a new and plucky girl character. And yet, since I liked it so much from page 1, and built up such high expectations of wanting a truly enlightening ...more
Robin Kempf
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What? A middle grade graphic novel about a Jewish Orthodox girl?!? Sprinkled with Yiddish? And as she takes on witches, enchanted pigs, and trolls, she (and her step-mom) shine as protagonists?!? Thank you, Barry Deutsch, for creating a feminist role model in such a unique context.

Edited to add: I have learned that there are some mistakes about Jewish practices in this book, and have downgraded this by one star. Although I didn’t notice them, probably due to reading too fast, I feel this is pro
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. Fiction/Fantasy. YA graphic novel with girl on cover. [s] 3 23 Oct 13, 2020 08:46AM  
Wild Things: YA G...: Hereville 5 27 Jan 18, 2012 11:44AM  

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