Ellen Handler Spitz, honors college professor of visal arts, discussed author Betsy Rosenthal’s latest children’s book Looking for Me for her monthly column in The New Republic.
The book follows its protagonist Edith Paul, the fourth of twelve children born to a working-class Jewish family, as she grows up in Baltimore during the 1930′s. Over the course of the short book, Edith experiences poverty, bigotry, and even death within the family as a sibling succombs to illness.
Spitz noted the Tolstoyan aspects of Rosenthal’s novel, drawing parallels with the seemingly inconsequential decision of a French corporal to re-enlist in War and Peace with the witnessing of Edith’s graduation, a moment in which the girl “learns that, like Tolstoy’s thousandth corporal, she matters.”
The column, “Learning to Matter,” appeared in the magazine on August 15.