Congratulations to Austin SCBWI member Daniela Weil on the release of her new book THE DIARY OF ASSER LEVY: FIRST JEWISH CITIZEN OF NEW YORK. Here’s more about the book and Daniela:
The Diary of Asser Levy: First Jewish Citizen of New York (Middle Grade Fiction based on history)
For twenty-four years the Dutch colony of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil was a safe haven for Jews who had escaped the Inquisition in Europe. Recife, its capital, was known as “Colonial Jerusalem,” and it was in this religiously tolerant town that Asser Levy grew up. When Asser and his family must flee following Portuguese recapture, plans to sail to Holland go awry and land Asser in the island of Manhattan, where new challenges face the refugees.
Daniela Weil captures the Jewish refugee’s harrowing story through imagined diary entries based on real events. Her narrative, seen through the eyes of a young boy who became a significant figure in New York’s history, follows some of the first court battles fought to allow religious freedom in America in the 1600’s. Uniquely formatted with OpenDyslexic font, Asser Levy’s experiences unfold into an all too familiar story of persecution, fight for acceptance, and the experience of immigrants and refugees in America.
About Daniela Weil:
Daniela was born in Brazil. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree Biology. Daniela wrote and illustrated two picture books in Brazil, worked as a scientific illustrator and has written several science articles for kid’s magazines. In 2014, she began to research a story she had always heard in her home country: that of Jews in Brazil having “founded” the Jewish community in New York in the 1600’s. Her 5 year research led her to travel to several continents to document the story of the ship that carried the first group of Jewish refugees from Brazil to Manhattan, and their legal fight for religious rights, some of the first in America.