Long-listed for the UKLA 2023 Book Awards for Children’s Fiction.
A beautifully illustrated and presented intergenerational graphic novel that follows 11-year-old Benji and his elderly grandmother, Bubbe Rosa, as they traverse Brooklyn and Manhattan, gathering the ingredients for a Friday night dinner.
Praise for Alte Zachen
”The graphic novel format brilliantly allows us to see Bubbe in both her present and her past, allowing the reader to better understand her in all her cranky, opinionated grandeur, along with her sweet, caring grandson, Benji. A wonderful intergenerational story about the value of old things.” — Marissa Moss, Children’s Book Author & Illustrator
”To outsiders, Benji’s Bubbe is just a crabby old lady. To the boy, and eventually to us, she becomes a vulnerable figure deserving of great tenderness. “Alte Zachen” is less ambitious and searing than Art Spiegelman’s “Maus,” but like that graphic novel it expands our understanding of the gulf that can exist between generations, particularly those divided by catastrophe”. — Wall Street Journal
”Bubbe is a delight and the love and patience Benji shows for her is so uplifting. This is award-winning storytelling”. — Books for Keeps
”A powerful and affecting story from author and publisher Ziggy Hanaor, with atmospheric illustrations from Benjamin Phillips”. — Centre for Literacy in Primary Education
Bubbe’s relationship with the city is complex & nothing is quite as she remembered it and she feels alienated and angry at the world around her. Benji, on the other hand, looks at the world, and his grandmother, with clear-eyed acceptance. As they wander the city, we catch glimpses of Bubbe’s childhood in Germany, her young adulthood in 1950s Brooklyn, and her relationships; first with a baker called Gershon, and later with successful Joe, Benji’s grandfather. Gradually we piece together snippets of Bubbe’s life, gaining an insight to some of the things that have formed her cantankerous personality. The journey culminates on the Lower East Side in a moving reunion between Rosa and Gershon, her first love. As the sun sets, Benji and his Bubbe walk home over the Williamsburg Bridge to make dinner.
This is a powerful, affecting and deceptively simple story of Jewish identity, of generational divides, of the surmountability of difference and of a restless city and its inhabitants.