Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

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9780152018269: Pharaoh's Daughter: A Novel of Ancient Egypt

Born into slavery, adopted as an infant by a princess, and raised in the palace of mighty Pharaoh, Moses struggles to define himself. And so do the three women who love him: his own embittered mother, forced to give him up by Pharaoh's decree; the Egyptian princess who defies her father and raises Moses as her own child; and his headstrong sister Almah, who discovers a greater kinship with the Egyptian deities than with her own God of the Hebrews. Told by Moses and his sister Almah from alternating points of view, this stunning novel by Newbery Honor-author Julius Lester probes questions of identity, faith, and destiny. ·From a Newbery Honor winner, National Book Award finalist, and renowned scholar of religious studies ·A thought-provoking story of family and faith for Easter or Passover gift-giving

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Review:

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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Hardcover edition 2000 978-0-15-201826-9  $17.00  

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