978-0-15-201826-9 / 0152018263

Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

by Lester, Julius

Publisher:HMH Books for Young Readers



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About the book:

In his introduction to this engrossing novel of ancient Egypt, Julius Lester says, "It is difficult not to see Charlton Heston when one thinks of Moses." But not in this book. Lester's Moses is a bungling teenager, scared and confused as he tries to find the courage to decide who he is and what he believes in. Raised as the pampered grandson of Pharaoh, he enjoys the attentions of three mother figures: Yocheved, his birth mother, who constantly implores him to return to his own people; Almah, his older sister, who has left her traditions to dance naked as a priestess of the goddess Hathor; and Batya, Pharoah's daughter, who saved him from death when he was a baby. But now his anger at his unresolved split identity has goaded him into a terrible act of violence--an act that will have a vast impact on history.

Julius Lester, a distinguished African-American writer best known for his Newbery Honor Book To Be a Slave, startled the literary world in 1981 by converting to Judaism. In Pharaoh's Daughter he follows the time-honored Jewish tradition of Midrash--a way of exploring a sacred text through the use of one's imagination. Armed with an impressive knowledge of the Hebrew language and the history of ancient Egypt, he jolts us out of our expectations and brings a fresh and richly detailed perspective to the Exodus. As Moses flees with his father's blessing--"You must go and come back and teach us all to be free"--we can only hope that Julius Lester plans to tell the rest of the story. (Ages 12 and older) --Patty Campbell

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