The Storyteller’s Beads

By Jane Kurtz
Level 8

For generations the Kemant, Amhara, and Beta-Israel people have been divided, taught to hate and fear one another. Author Jane Kurtz masterfully weaves the story of two girls, one Kemant, one Beta-Israel, into one story that I could not put down. In The Storyteller’s Beads we see how it took a famine, the Red Terror, murderous thieves, and a religious journey to show the girls that they are actually quite similar. Both girls are forced to leave their families and must rely on each other to survive the long journey from Ethiopia to Jerusalem. When the journey becomes particularly difficult, the girls tell each other stories from the Bible, drawing strength and bravery from the lessons in each one. I loved learning about the culture and beliefs of each group of people; it was very eye-opening. Please note that this is a historical fiction story featuring the Ethiopian Famine of the 1980’s – it is accurate and beautiful but contains some heavy topics including starvation, murderous thieves, children being orphaned, death, stealing food to survive, and rumors of war. While handled in an appropriate and inspiring way, it may not be a good fit for sensitive readers.

(Reviewed by an Official Good and Beautiful Reviewer)

Region Ethiopia, Sudan, Jerusalem
Period 1980s
Genre Historical Fiction
The Good and the Beautiful Library No
  • E-Book
  • 4 Entertainment Value
  • 3 Moral Value
  • 4 Educational Value
  • 4 Literary Value
Rating System