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By Shira Nayman

River is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who travels back in time, and across continents, encountering her maternal forbears when they were her age. From the Australian Outback, where she meets a young Aboriginal man, to racist, rigidly segregated South Africa during World War II, to the midst of a pogrom in Lithuania, and then all the way back to the Babylon of biblical times, Emily has deep encounters with the young women she meets, as well as with the history that shapes them -- and ultimately, the histories that have mysteriously and yet powerfully shaped her own soul.


Guernica World Editions (World Young Readers)


285 pages |

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The book gives readers food for thought: if we knew why our relatives – particularly the ones we don’t like – became the way they are, would we feel more compassion or pity for them? Parents and their teens might find it interesting to read and discuss the lessons “River” offers.

Off the Shelf

Eloquent and polished, with characters who breathe and speak as if they are in the same room as the reader, this fourth novel by Nayman (A Mind of Winter) would be a valuable choice for teen Jewish studies as well as for YA and adult book discussion groups. Highly recommended.

Library Journal


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About the author

Shira Nayman is the author of Awake in the Dark, The Listener, and A Mind of Winter. Her work has appeared in magazines and journals, including The Atlantic Monthly. Born in South Africa and raised in Australia, Shira lives in Brooklyn, NY.