From the reviews: A wonderful and inspiring story for ages 10 to 120!
Theodore Bikel's The City Of Light is based on a short story by legendary actor, singer and social justice activist, (and Aimee Ginsburg Bikel's late husband) Theodore Bikel. It tells the story of a young boy (Bikel) and his childhood in the City of Light (Vienna). His was a beautiful childhood, in the wondrous City of Light, surrounded by the love of his family. But soon, the dark clouds of Anti-Semitism grew, and the city was occupied by the army from across the border. Those who were once friendly neighbors and classmates become dangerous enemies, wishing him great harm for no reason other than he is a Jewish. The Boy dreams that his hero, Judah Maccabi, enters the city to save the Jews, but when he awakes, it had only been a dream. The Boy and his family must flee, leaving the home that they loved forever. Many years later, The Boy, now an Old Man, returns to The City and finds that the light has always been inside his own heart.
Now in its second printing, The City Of Light - with the wonderful commentary of Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, also includes a three-page Yiddish word glossary, a recipe for Honey Cake from Bikel's Grandmother, and sheet music of a little known Hanukkah song, "Little Candle Fires"; with a link to websites where you can hear Theo singing this song.
“From the back cover: Aimee Ginsburg Bikel's retelling of her beloved Theo Bikel's tale of what he experienced as a little boy during the rise of hatred that preceded the Holocaust is a beautiful, painfully powerful and great gift- particularly meaningful in this time of world-wide mushrooming of anti-Semitism, hatred and bigotry of every. Told in the sweet poetic language of a child, it is a riveting tale, made all the more meaningful by the mounting denial of this history that we must tell and retell, lest it be repeated-” - Peter Yarrow, "Peter, Paul and Mary"
— "Peter, Paul and Mary"
Critical accliam for Theodore Bikel's the city of light
“If in the past I have ever called a book beautiful, I realize after reading City of Lights that I may have been too profligate with my praise. This work for children may be the realization of that often overused word; it is a very moving story, an excellent way to introduce youngsters to the Holocaust” - Aaron Leibel
“An especially important episode in (Theo Bikel's) remarkable life story is now retold by his widow, Aimee Ginsburg Bikel, in "Theodore Bikel's The City of Light"....the story has been transformed into an illustrated children's book...full of both pleasures and challenges that will last all year long. Ginsburg Bikel and (illustrator Noah) Phillips have risen to an extraordinarily difficult task by foreshadowing the events of the Holocaust without confronting her young readers with its atrocities. Indeed, "Theodore Bikel's The City of Light" is a book that can be used to open a conversation about events in Jewish history that will be revealed in full only when the child is much older.” - Jonathan Kirsch
“I liked the way that Aimee tied the story together so well was amazing, and afterwards, I wanted to get the book, because I wanted to learn more about Theo Bikel.” - R.D. , grade 6
— Portland Jewish Academy
“Set against a rapidly changing sociopolitical climate, a young Jewish boy in Vienna is forced to awaken to the harsh reality in his country: Hitler has taken power. With his family, he flees and becomes a refugee. However in the process, he must stave off the darkness that threatens to consume him and fight to keep his inner light. "It's an honor to be in charge of Theo's legacy," said Aimee Ginsburg Bikel. "He was a giant; so kind and full of joy."” - Lisa Andre'