Speed of Light by Sybil Rosen

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For eleven-year-old Audrey Ina, it's a conundrum: How could her life get so complicated so quickly? She feels like she's traveling at the speed of light.

It all starts when her daddy decides to help Mr. Cardwell, a black man, join the local police force -- a bold move in her 1950s Southern town of Blue Gap. Suddenly, her family is catapulted into the heart of a conflict that threatens to shatter the peace as surely as the rock that smashes the window of her daddy's factory. As tensions escalate, Audrey wants to know: Was the rock thrown because someone hates her daddy for helping Mr. Cardwell...or because he's Jewish?

As if in answer, a wave of anti-Semitism sweeps through the town, causing Audrey's Polish aunt Pesel to relive buried memories of her family's murder by the Nazis. Witnessing her aunt's torment, Audrey begins to understand something about the nature of hatred -- and the real meaning of compassion.

With her family and town falling apart, Audrey turns to the one thing she trusts -- the stars -- for answers, or comfort, anyway. And she determines to help her father fight for what they believe is right, no matter what the consequences.

Here is a powerful and important first novel -- an unusual exploration of the connections between racism and anti-Semitism.


About Sybil Rosen

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Rosen has written several plays and a documentary film, Americas in Transition, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Published July 1, 1999 by Atheneum/Anne Schwartz Books. 176 pages
Genres: Children's Books, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Rosen's overly ambitious novel is set in a Virginia mill town in 1956. The narrator, 11-year-old Audrey Stern, belongs to one of the few Jewish families in the area. She becomes acutely conscious of h

Jun 28 1999 | Read Full Review of Speed of Light

Publishers Weekly

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Tante overcomes her pain and forges a bond with Audrey, aided by her somewhat convenient discovery that Audrey looks a lot like herself;

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