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How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

How Mirka Got Her Sword (2010)

by Barry Deutsch

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3253534,071 (3.93)16

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Hereville is a well-executed and engaging graphic novel that tells the unexpected story of Mirka, an Orthodox Jewish girl who escapes the tedium of her day-to-day life by going on adventures in the woods outside her home town. The fantastical plot and surprising, clearly articulated characters will appeal to middle- and high-school readers of any religion. The illustrations are a mix of rounded edges and sharp corners, done in bold black ink. The muted colors are used to express mood: when Mirka goes on her quest to find and slay a troll at night, the color of the pages shifts from soft orange to blue-grey to convey a sense of mystery and magic. The dynamic illustrations often tell the story independent of text. One of the most interesting aspects of Hereville is that, in the story’s world, Orthodox Judaism is the norm. There are notes to help readers who are not familiar with Judaism, but the characters’ religion and traditions are not treated as strange or exceptional. The themes of the story grapple with issues inherent in many religious communities: among them identity, family, culture, and gender. Mirka, who longs to slay dragons, struggles with a community that thinks girls should marry and raise children, and she must find a way to accommodate tradition while staying true to herself. Readers from middle-grade through adulthood will find in Mirka a hero to cheer for. Highly Recommended. Grade 6+ ( )
  kottenbrookk | Oct 23, 2014 |
One day on her way to school Mirka Hirschberg discovers a house that she’s never seen before in her town of Hereville and in the yard of this house is a woman pruning a tree while floating ten feet off the ground. Mirka plucks one of the enormous grapes hanging on the fence of the house, and she’s set upon by a monster. The monster turns out to be a pig, but since Hereville is town inhabited only by Orthodox Jews, Mirka has never seen one, and doesn’t know what to call it until enlightened by her more worldly step-sister. Since Mirka’s ambition in life is to be a dragon slayer, she vows that she’s not going to be defeated by a pig. But when she sets a trap for the pig, she ends up having to battle a troll! ( )
  MaowangVater | Jul 27, 2014 |
Being my first graphic novel, I was unsure of what to expect. But I couldn't put this book down. The creativity of illustrations made it aesthetically pleasing, while the dialogue was easy to follow and kept the story moving. Seeing as it was a book based around the Orthodox Jewish religion, I also think it was a helpful touch to add Jewish words with their meanings at the bottom of the page. I would not have expected to learn about another religion while reading about a girl meeting witches and fighting trolls. It's a quick read, but a worthwhile one. It was clear what text was being spoken and what was setting/character information. Each character was thought out and redeemed in the end. I could see this book being enjoyed by children of any age. ( )
  ghelmus | May 28, 2014 |
Hereville jumped out at me particularly because on the cover of the graphic novel, one reads "Yet another Troll-Fighting 11-year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl". Library collections can always use more female heroes, especially heroes representing different cultures. Being married to a Jewish woman, I have come to learn that much of my community is inexperienced with Jewish culture, primarily because it is a minority among many. This is a superb read for girls and boys who are ready to experience an atypical story while getting a sneak peak of the orthodox jewish life from a young gir's perpspective. This is surely one of my favorite reads of the year!
1 vote MicahCorporaal | Mar 17, 2014 |
This is, in my estimation, nearly as perfect a youth graphic novel as you can get. Mirka is an inspiring heroine, and I loved the warm portrayal of Orthodox Judaism and family, even as Mirka engages in untraditional girl behaviors like swordfighting trolls. ( )
1 vote kahansen | Feb 27, 2014 |
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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!
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Mirka is not interested in doing traditional things girls like to do--she wants to fight dragons and needs a sword.

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