In the early 1980s, thousands of Ethiopian Jews fled the civil unrest, famine and religious persecution of their native land in the hopes of being reunited in Yerusalem, their spiritual homeland, with its promises of a better life. Wuditu and her family risk their lives to make this journey, which leads them to a refugee camp in Sudan, where they are separated. Terrified, 15-year-old Wuditu must return to Ethiopia alone. Don’t give up, Wuditu! Be strong!” The words of her little sister come to Wuditu in a dream and give her the courage to keep going. Wuditu must find someone to give her food and shelter or she will surely die. Finally Wuditu is offered a solution: working as a servant. However, she quickly realizes that she has become a slave. With nowhere else to go, she staysuntil the villagers discover that she is a falasha, a hated Jew. Only her dream of one day being reunited with her family gives her strengthuntil the arrival of a stranger heralds hope and a new life in Israel. Based on real events, Wuditu’s story mirrors the experiences of thousands of Ethiopian Jews.
This is an interesting account of a group that most have never heard of, let alone their plight.--Laurie Balderson, Hamilton Holmes Middle School, King William, Virginia"Library Media Connection" (05/01/2011)
Shows with brutal, unflinching detail the horrors of refugee life and child slavery and the shocking vulnerability of young females in the developing world. A compelling novel...left me longing to read more. Highly recommended. [A] Canadian journalist takes readers back to the vicious anti-Semitism and civil war that led to an exodus of Ethiopia's indigenous Jewish community in the 1980s... 12-year-old Wuditu...and her little sister Lewteh are caught up in a sudden round-up and conveyed back to Ethiopia... Wuditu makes her way to a city in search of rumored rescuers but finds herself trapped in a years-long daily struggle to survive that leads to being forced by a soldier into sexual servitude and reduced to slavery by a cruel bar owner.... Readers will feel for her and be relieved when she is miraculously found by...the author and tearfully reunited with her sister and family in Jerusalem. Oron unfolds Wuditu's harrowing story with a journalist's eye for memorable details and unforgettable situations. Paints indelible images on the brain and calls attention to the reality of child slavery, while spotlighting a proud moment in Israeli history.
The story...is extremely well told with a clear voice that is occasionally heartbreaking in its ability to create proximity while maintaining distance. This is an example of masterful storytelling.... Readers learn a great deal about Ethiopia while they are caught up in a riveting story. This difficult yet inspiring story will encourage readers to revisit their own circumstances and better connect with world history. Extremely well told with a clear voice that is occasionally heartbreaking. Teens will find [Cry of the Giraffe] compelling and understand Wuditu's feelings, hopes and dreams that are so similar to their own.... It will engage students as they grapple with issues of human rights, displaced peoples, social justice and activism.
Based on a true story, this book follows the nightmarish saga or Waditu, a young Ethiopian Jew who, along with her family, is trying to join others in Jerusalem. Waditu witnesses horrible atrocities to her own people and others in the Sudanese refugee camps. She is separated from her family, forced into a life of begging and prostitution. When her faith is uncovered, Waditu risks death at the hands of her mistress. She is rescued and taken to Israel where she is reunited with her family. This is an interesting account of a group that most have never heard of, let alone their plight. Some of the vocabulary is difficult and some circumstances are for more mature readers.--Laurie Balderson, Hamilton Holmes Middle School, K"Library Media Connection" (05/01/2011)