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“Shush,” my mother whispers, “don’t disturb your grandfather while he’s davening.”
The problem is, Grandpa Sam is always davening. Hunched over in his chair, his head covered by a plain black yarmulke, he prays morning and afternoon. Esther’s grandpa owns a movie theater, Yetta’s grandpa played for the Yankees, and Ernie’s was a pirate king. Grandpa Sam is just borrrring!
“Do YOU think I was born a borrrring old man?” Grandpa Sam laughs … and begins to tell his grandchildren the story of a young boy who was born in Poland, where life was hard for the Jews.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe to the United States early in the century, and many made their way to the Lower East Side of New York City. From such beginnings, says the author, many stories flow. This is his grandfather’s.
Poignant portraits, drawn on onehundred-year-old paper, are the backdrop for this moving story, told by a grandfather to his grandchildren, of gambling to survive until neartragedy inspires the final, most important wager.
Listen to Jay O Sanders reading Grampa’s Gamble:
- A Jewish Book Council Book of the Month 1999
“The sepia tone illustrations on handmade paper are as plain and beautiful as the words in this moving story. They capture the tough, brazen immigrant culture as well as the intimate bonds of love and faith across generations.”
— Booklist, Hazel Rochman Starred review
“Michelson’s story is both personal and universal, highlighting the discovery of family histories and hidden lives. Moser’s skilled illustrations add an intimate touch to this poignant tale.”
— Kirkus Review