Alte Zachen: Old Things


A witty, moving and illuminating story which has much to say about the big events of the last hundred years.


ISBN: 9781800660229 Category:

Ziggy Hanaor


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.

Additional information

Weight 466 g
Dimensions 19.8 x 24.7 cm
Publisher name Cicada Books Ltd
Publication date 4 August 2022
Number of pages 72
Format Hardback
Contributors Illustrated by Benjamin Phillips
Dimensions 19.8 x 24.7 cm
Weight 466 g


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Ziggy Hanaor is a publisher and writer. She is the author of Fly Flies and the Pocket Chaotic. This is her first graphic novel.

Benjamin Phillips works in various mediums, straddling the disciplines of illustration and fine art. From his studio in Hastings, Benjamin finds inspiration in human interaction, the humour and turmoil of everyday life and the joy of repetition. His clients include New York Times, Penguin Random House, Ebury Press and the British Council.