A WALK WITH ESTHER by Deb Bowen with Cassie Bowen

I obtained A Walk with Esther as a trade when meeting with the author, Deb Bowen. I’d seen a story on the local news about Deb and her book on the recent Holocaust anniversary. When I looked at her website, I learned about the A BOOK by ME project where Deb partners children with Holocaust survivors or World War II Veterans and adult mentors to write books telling the survivors’ or Veterans’ stories. I loved this idea so I emailed Deb and we had a wonderful visit about our respective writing and projects. I traded Missing Emily: Croatian Life Letters for A Walk with Esther.

A Walk with Esther not only tells the stories of these three Holocaust survivors named Esther, but also Deb’s journey with them. The book is also a memoir of how A BOOK by ME was created and affected Deb’s and her daughter’s, Cassie’s, lives. It’s also more than walks with Esthers, but also with other Holocaust survivors and those touched by World War II.

I was pulled into the stories; I would look up from reading them and realize an hour had passed. I liked Cassie’s perspectives, too; they added even more to the gap-bridging aspect of the book. I read the book as part sales pitch, like an extra long sales letter to get the reader to support the worthy cause. But even though this thread of asking for support was weaved through the stories, they were so interesting I didn’t mind. Plus, they were effective – they made me want to support the effort.

Along with the stories about the Holocaust survivors or Veterans themselves, the book also presents photos of the authors and illustrators who created the A BOOK by ME products and photos of the books’ covers. Other photos and facts related to the stories, World War II, and the Holocaust are also included, which I found very interesting and added value to the book.

Be aware, after you read this book, you will be touched by the stories and will want to do something to promote the A BOOK by ME project. However, you will also feel Deb’s gratitude by simply purchasing the book. The proceeds from A Walk with Esther go back to Deb’s A BOOK by ME project, so you’ll know you’ve helped to fund something important. More than just financially, however, you know you are helping these stories stay alive, doing your part to help prevent the past from repeating. And you get to learn something, too.

I loved this book and reading all of the stories; I found myself coming back to it as quickly as I could. So, on a can’t-put-it-down-scale of one for I couldn’t even finish it to ten for I was up until the wee morning hours, I give it an eight and a half.

A Walk with Esther along with all of the A BOOK by ME books published to date are available to purchase on www.abookbyme.com. The website also offers a wealth of information about the project, including how you can help.

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