The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts

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The Private Notebook of Katie Roberts book coverWhat the Book is About:

When Katie’s widowed mother remarries, she must leave her friends in New York City to move to the middle of nowhere in Texas. The only Jewish girl in the class, she writes of her hopes and fears in humorous diary entries and letters, until one day she hatches a plan to run away back to New York. Katie’s voice is a typical eleven-year-old’s, albeit somewhat self-centered. Her breezy style and the illustrated diary format makes this an attractive and contemporary choice despite its post-WWII setting.

Jewish Content and Values

  • Katie’s mother marries Sam Gold in a Jewish wedding ceremony. Katie explains that the groom breaks a glass at the end of the ceremony.
  • Katie goes to Hebrew school.
  • The family lights candles and has a special dinner to celebrate Shabbat, which begins at sundown on Friday night and concludes on Saturday night.
  • Katie’s family eats latkes (potato pancakes) and lights a menorah in honor of Hannukah.

Positive Role Models

  • Mrs. Leitstein is Katie’s neighbor in New York. She gives Katie a notebook in which to write her thoughts and fears. She becomes Katie’s pen pal and is her confidante and advisor when Katie feels that her mother is too busy with her new husband to pay attention to Katie.
  • Mr. Keyes is Katie’s teacher. When Katie becomes editor of the school newspaper and alienates her friends by letting the power go to her head, Mr. Keyes advises her that in order to have friends you must also be a friend.

Content Advisory

None.

Talk it Over

Katie’s new stepfather, Sam, wants to adopt her so that they can all be a family. She likes Sam, but feels that becoming his daughter would be disloyal to her father’s memory. What would you do in her situation?

More For You

Jewish weddings: There are many unique and beautiful traditions surrounding the Jewish marriage ceremony. The badeken, in which the groom covers the bride’s face with a veil, the wedding canopy, called a chuppah, symbolizing the home that the newlyweds will build together, and the ketubah, marriage contract, signed by two witnesses, are just a few of these. Reminding those assembled that moments of great joy are tempered by our sadness in remembering the destruction of the biblical Temple in Jerusalem, the groom breaks a glass to end the ceremony, as all the guests shout “Mazal Tov,” wishing the new couple good luck in the journey ahead. 

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