Review of Becoming Brianna by Terri Libenson

“Sometimes you just have to agree to things and the figure out why later. Sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith.” – Brianna

The past couple of years, to my delight, there have been more books featuring Jewish characters of different backgrounds and levels of observance. The new addition to this list is Becoming Brianna by Terri Libenson, part of the Emmie & Friends series. Thank you to Harper Kids for sending me a copy.

Every Jewish kid can probably remember the lead up to their Bar/Bat Mitzvah. For many that can include struggling to learn the Hebrew and the proper melodies, trying to find meaning in their Torah portion, arguing with parents over details about the party if there was one, or struggling to do all of that while going dealing with school, friends, and other changes (voice cracking while reading Torah isn’t fun). Terri Libenson captures all of that in her newest graphic novel.

Brianna, Bri, doesn’t like being the center of attention, and one thing about a Bar or Bat Mitzvah is that you are center of attention whether you like it or not. While she doesn’t struggle with schoolwork, she does struggle with learning Hebrew and writing her D’var Torah, a speech about the weekly Torah portion. She isn’t even sure if she wants to go through it, a mother’s Jewish guilt is a powerful thing. And to top it off, Bri is struggling with a changing social life at school. Bri must conquer her stage fright and learn who her true friends are.

Read: 5/2/2020
Release date: May 5th, 2020
Page count: 320
Rating: ★★★★
Genre: Fiction
Audience: Middle Grade

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