The Book Rescuer, by Sue Macy

The Book Rescuer book cover

The full title of this beautiful picture book is The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come. Adults familiar with Aaron Lansky’s amazing story will know what this means, but children are probably unaware of his heroic efforts to save Yiddish books from being relegated to a literal dustbin of history. The author follows young Aaron, an “all-American boy,” from his youth in Massachusetts to his college years (as he first began to learn Yiddish) and later, when he started collecting Yiddish book cast-offs from elderly Jews he knew. The book recounts how he ended up rescuing thousands of Yiddish titles, digitizing them, creating the fabulous Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, and almost single-handedly being the catalyst for the resurgence of the study of the Yiddish language today. 

The engaging illustrations are inspired by the art of Marc Chagall. Aaron Lansky provides an “Author’s Note” at the end, and both author and illustrator provide explanatory pages, along with a useful Yiddish glossary. An inspiring tale for children that proves the power of one individual to change the world if they care enough. - Lisa Silverman, Director, Burton Sperber Jewish Community Library, retrieved from