Greenhorn by Anna Olswanger is a deceptively small, short book. Although it has pictures on almost every page, and the story is short, it’s topic is rather heavy.

Aaron is a student at a yeshiva in New York in 1946. His classmates and he are asked to welcome nearly two dozen boys from Poland who have survived the Holocaust. Aaron tries to befriend Daniel, his new roommate, but Daniel isn’t talking. Plus he carries a small metal box with him everywhere he goes.

This makes him an immediate target for the older boys, who like to bully Aaron. They start terrorizing Daniel – but Aaron finds his voice and sticks up for him.

This is a book an adult needs to read with a child. As you can tell, the topics are heavy – bullying, the horrors of concentration camps, how to be a friend. Such topics need to be discussed, and a book like Greenhorn can open the discussion.

Recommended for ages 8 and up.

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