A Visit to Moscow

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Product Details
$19.99  $18.59
West Margin Press
Publish Date
5.91 X 9.06 X 0.47 inches | 0.75 pounds

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About the Author

The late Rabbi Rafael Grossman was a respected leader at some of the nation's most distinguished Jewish organizations, including Baron Hirsch Synagogue, the Beth Din of America, the Rabbinical Council of America, and more. He received several honors and awards for his leadership and work in the Jewish community, and was also a recognized orator and writer whose work was published in The Jewish Press.

In 1965, Rabbi Grossman traveled to the Soviet Union as part of a rabbinical delegation to visit Jewish victims of government-sponsored anti-Semitism. Profoundly moved by the experience, he often wrote and spoke about his time there after returning to the United States. His story inspired the graphic novel A Visit to Moscow.

Anna Olswanger first began interviewing Rabbi Rafael Grossman and writing down his stories in the early 1980s. She is the author of the middle grade novel Greenhorn, based on an incident in Rabbi Grossman's childhood and set against the backdrop of the Holocaust. She is also the author of Shlemiel Crooks, a Sydney Taylor Honor Book and PJ Library Book, which she wrote after discovering a 1919 Yiddish newspaper article about the attempted robbery of her great-grandparents' kosher liquor store in St. Louis.

Anna lives in New Jersey with her husband. She is a literary agent and represents a number of award-winning authors and illustrators. Visit her at www.olswanger.com.

Yevgenia Nayberg is an award-winning illustrator, painter, and set and costume designer. As a designer, she has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/TCG Fellowship for Theatre Designers, the Independent Theatre Award, and the Arlin Meyer Award. She has received multiple awards for her picture book illustrations, including three Sydney Taylor Medals. Her debut author/illustrator picture book, Anya's Secret Society, received a Junior Library Guild Gold Selection Award. Her artwork can be found in magazines and on posters and music albums. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine, Yevgenia now lives and draws from her studio in New York City. Visit her at www.nayberg.org.


"This dynamic book highlights the success of activism in liberating Soviet Jewry. During this challenging time in Ukraine, we are given this reminder that seemingly insurmountable odds can be overcome. Appropriate on different levels for young audiences through adult, multiple readings will be rewarded with deeper insights into this compelling narrative." --Association of Jewish Libraries

"The story flows along smoothly and the emotional context comes through." --First Comics News "Rich Reviews"

"The text is poetic prose, which meshes well with the panels telling the story. The extraordinary artwork uses varying color palettes to differentiate between Russia and the rest of the world, to great effect. This story is a deeply moving look at how Jews survived in the USSR during the Cold War." --Youth Services Book Reviews

"A Visit to Moscow is a beautifully illustrated and haunting graphic novel. The tension as the rabbi makes his way to Meyer's last known address is palpable in both text and images; the KGB are an ever-looming threat." --Jewish Independent

"That A Visit to Moscow is beautifully illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg, who was born in Ukraine and now lives in New York City, makes this encounter with the history of the Soviet Jewry movement, which was so much a part of the later 20th-century American Jewish experience, especially poignant and timely." --Moment Magazine

"The reader senses the story is deeply felt by the writer, and held closely. The result is a tour de force." --The Jewish Press

"An ethereal, dream-like graphic memoir for middle graders and the adults around them about a time when the Jewish community was activated to respond as one to the plight of Soviet Jewry." --Jewish Voice and Opinion

"A Visit to Moscow captures the oppression of the Jewish community in the 1965 Soviet Union and is a good resource to introduce younger readers to the topic of anti-Semitism in a visual format." --Pine Reads Review

"Inspired by real events, the eye-opening and important narrative in this graphic novel are punctuated by the phenomenal illustrations, showing Jewish life in the Soviet Union." --The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

"A Visit to Moscow may be a useful tool with which to begin discussion of the difficulties and dangers of emigration. [This] is a beautiful book with many layers of storytelling." --The Sydney Taylor Shmooze

"This powerful and well-told story aptly captures the fear that circumscribed the lives of most Jews before the breakup of the Soviet Union. While Olswanger is obliged to label this book 'historical fiction' it rings absolutely true with respect to accounts from that period. It is also an important look at life under authoritarianism, especially authoritarian regimes that are antisemitic (as, alas, they all seem to be)." --Rhapsody in Books

"Impressively adapted to a graphic novel format in collaboration with artist/illustrator Yevgenia Nayberg, A Visit to Moscow is both entertaining and informative." --Midwest Book Review

"[A Visit to Moscow] is extremely well done. The excellent illustrations by Yevgenia Nayberg use color to create a mood that informs the story, generating far greater emotion than one might expect from the sparse number of details included. The book ends with factual information about the plight of Soviet Jews that helps place the story into perspective. Since Grossman has passed away, Olswanger is unsure how much of the tale is fact and how much is fiction. However, she hopes to eventually find the Soviet family featured and learn the truth. That story would also be a fascinating one to read." --The Reporter (Vestal, NY)

"This faith-affirming fablelike tale will make a ready gift book from older Jewish relatives to younger generations." --Publishers Weekly

"The illustrations by Yevgenia Nayberg are immersive and lush. While they look simplistic, they resemble art from the old Soviet Union, which captures the mood perfectly. Like any other graphic novel, the art also moves the story forward. . . A well-executed, and immersive story which has many layers. The more one reads this short graphic novel, the more one will find different layers to this seemingly simple story." --Man of la Book: A Bookish Blog

"This story has now been retold in an elegantly written and illustrated graphic novel by author and literary agent Anna Olswanger and award-winning illustrator Yevgenia Nayberg." --Tablet Magazine

"The storytelling is clear and crisp, written in the first person, enabling the reader to walk in Rabbi Grossman's shoes. The illustrations, contributed by a Jewish Ukrainian-American artist, reflect the grim realities of Soviet life, especially in shape and color. Form and pallet shift as hope is restored and we see a future in the promised land [...] Historic, inspirational, surprising, and entertaining, this is a slim volume that leaves a lasting impression on the reader." --Kate on Kids Books

"It's a really interesting read and definitely something unique that's out there in the comics community." --Graphic Policy

"Stirring and tragic and hopeful all at the same time. Extraordinary illustrations, compelling words, and a heartbreaking story make it a book to cherish." --Karen Cushman, Newbery Award-winning author

"This beautiful, haunting story evokes the tragedy and triumph of Soviet Jewry in a way that few books have managed to do." --Yossi Klein Halevi, New York Times bestselling author

"A Visit to Moscow gives the true feeling of the tragedy of Russian Jewry. For seventy years we were isolated, not getting the fresh air of Yiddishkeit--we almost starved. And still, Soviet Jewry survived against all odds." --Yosef Mendelevitch, Prisoner of Zion in the former Soviet Union