Yossel's Journey

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 06 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 06 Sep 2022

Talking about this book? Use #YosselsJourney #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


When Yossel’s family flees anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia and immigrates to the American Southwest, he worries about making a new home and new friends.

In his family's new store next to the Navajo reservation, Yossel watches neighbors pass through. He learns lots of Navajo (Diné) words, but he's still too afraid and lonely to try talking to anyone. Finally he meets Thomas, a Navajo boy just his age. Making new friends can be hard, especially when you're learning a new language to tell your jokes.
A historical picture book about the power of cross-cultural friendships and the joy of finding out the true meaning of home.
When Yossel’s family flees anti-Jewish pogroms in Russia and immigrates to the American Southwest, he worries about making a new home and new friends.

In his family's new store next to the Navajo...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781623541767
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 11 members

Featured Reviews

Yossel’s Journey is a sweet, heartfelt tale. The story beautifully captured the feel of late nineteenth century life in Yossel’s village in Russia—the sights, smells, culture, ceremonies, and people—and his new life in New Mexico. The family having to flee Russia because of the pogroms was moving and sensitively handled, as was Yossel’s loss and feeling of dislocation. His ultimate joy at finding friendship, connection, and marvels in his new home created just the right ending. The story is relevant for any child needing to adjust to a new home and culture. Johnson Yazzie’s colorful illustrations complimented the text beautifully. The painting of the ship crossing the Atlantic stunned me with the power of its emotion. I loved his creative use of Navajo patterns in the landscape.

I highly recommend Yossel’s Journey for school and public libraries, as well as classroom curricula.

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. The above comments reflect my honest opinion of the book.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for giving me an ARC of this book!

This is a truly special story. It tells the story of Yossel, a Jewish boy from Russia, who moves to the American southwest. Despite language and culture differences, he befriends a Native American boy. They learn about each other's beliefs in this picture book set against a background of beautiful art. This book really got me interested in the recommended further readings about this topic.

Was this review helpful?

I love the illustrations in this book, you can see the texture in the drawings and the color palette is lovely.

This was a beautiful story and I, like Kathryn Lasky would like to believe that a young Jewish immigrant and a young Navajo boy became friends and shared their cultures without fear.

Was this review helpful?

Yossel's Journey is about a young Jewish boy and his family who immigrate from Russia during the pogroms, to the American Southwest and come to live at a trading post near a Navajo reservation. Yossel not only as to adjust to a new living situation, but also learn two new languages and try to make friends.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, but I always appreciate books that show different Jewish history than what is most commonly shown (in this case, instead of settling in New York like a lot of Jewish families did, Yossel's family continues further west), not to say that those stories are not important too, but having a wide variety is never bad. And especially books like this one that show off two marginalized cultures.

I thought the art was beautiful and did a great job depicting both the lives and friendship of Yossel and Thomas.

Having the continued reading suggestions in the back was also a great addition!

Thank you to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for making this available in exchange for an honest review!

Was this review helpful?

Omg! I love how unique and different this picture storybook is!

Thank you, Charlesbridge, for the advance reading copy.

A good but an intense and serious read for the young readers, it will be a good story to read together with a teacher or an adult.

I am impressed with the unusual art and illustrations. You will be surprised.

The entire book is a visual treat starting from the cover, the first few pages before the actual content and the last few pages. I say a visual treat.

It's the story of Yossel whose family flees Russia and goes to America. He is quite worried about making new friends and how to adjust to a new home. He's lonely and afraid. Read this book how things change for him. It's heartwarming and hopeful.

I appreciate the glossary for reference towards the end.

Was this review helpful?

This is a story of a Russian Jew’s immigration to America. However, Yossel traveled much farther than just New York. His family traveled to the south and lived near an indigenous reservation where they took over an uncle’s trading post. There Yossel made friends with a native child. Their traditions may be different, but they can both belong and be friends. While this story is fiction, it is based on similar real-life events. The story is wonderful, and the illustrations are a perfect match.

Was this review helpful?

***Thank you to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for this ARC in exchange for an honest review***

Yossel and his family decide to leave Russia because it has become too dangerous to be Jewish there. They move to America and live at his late uncle Isaac's house, a trading post on a Navajo reservation. He meets a Navajo boy named Thomas and they become friends. They spend time with each other's families and learn about their different languages and cultures.

Was this review helpful?

Back in the time of the tsars, Yossel's parents take them away from their home in Russia to Odessa to England to NYC to Topeka to Santa Fe to a new home at the trading post near the Navajo reservation. Once they have settled in, Yossel begins to learn English and Navajo in addition to his own Yiddish while getting to know a neighbor boy and making friends. I loved it! Great for gifting.
Learn about some Jewish immigrants who did not stay in NYC.
The illustrations by Johnson Yazzie are delightful, colorful, vibrant, and imaginative.
I requested and received a free temporary e-book on Adobe Digital Editions from Charlesbridge via NetGalley. Thank you!

Was this review helpful?

I remember discovering Kathryn Lasky’s books about 30 years ago. At that time, I was quite impressed with them; her picture books were a breath of fresh air—a new style! I still like them. I found Yossel’s Journey a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve read it to my younger children a couple of times now. When I read it this evening, everyone from age 12 on down to 3 was hanging over the book, listening intently and studying the pictures.
Yossel and his family lived in a village in Russia. When the soldiers were trying to hurt his Jewish people, his Papa and Mama decided the family must move to America. Yossel was very sad to leave his home. After a long trip, they arrived in New York City—but this family was not going to stay there! They set off on a long trip across America, and finally arrived in New Mexico, where they had inherited a small trading post on the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Yossel felt very lonely. He had left his best friend Moishe behind in Russia, and now he couldn’t speak the language of the people around him. Slowly, he began to make new friends, but it’s hard to tell jokes when you don’t know the language! Little by little, with the help of his new friend Thomas and Thomas’s naughty sheep Star Eye, Yossel started to feel at home and learned to communicate better. Then one day, when Yossel was visiting Thomas’s family, something very special happened and Yossel really felt at home.
The pictures in this beautiful book are unique. They give the flavor of the Navajo people among whom Yossel went to live. The colors remind me of Navajo art. I’m not sure what medium was used to create them, but they are gorgeous. I also like the way the author and artist have shown the contrast of the two cultures—Russia Jew and Navajo—and how the two peoples could learn to appreciate each other. The author’s note at the end of the book is really interesting; I had no idea that Jewish people settled in the American Southwest! This note makes the book quite interesting to adults as well as to children.
I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley, and these are my honest thoughts about it.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: