Straddling Black and White by Kim Salzman
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Straddling Black and White follows the story of brave, fourteen-year-old Azmera, who takes part in the mass immigration of Ethiopian Jewry to Israel in the 1980s. Azmera embarks on the treacherous journey to join her father in Israel, leaving her pregnant mother and four younger siblings behind in war-torn Ethiopia.
Upon arrival in Israel, Azmera struggles to assimilate into a country where the language, the land, and the people are both foreign and familiar. As she begins to fulfill her dream of living in the Jewish homeland, her father develops a growing dependency on alcohol in his attempt to numb the daily humiliation he faces as a new immigrant. Azmera is confronted with shocking secrets from her parents’ past, making her doubt everything she once knew. With each passing day, Azmera learns that the world she once took for granted as black and white is much more nuanced and complex than she ever could have imagined.
Straddling Black and White is a timely novel from Kim Salzman, whose experience working with Ethiopian Jewish immigrants illuminates a fresh, moving perspective on the deeply layered issues surrounding immigration, racism, and identity.
Year first published: 2023