A magical Bat Mitzvah gift gets out of control and thrusts a girl into a supernatural quest with the fate of the world at stake in this “refreshing, fast-paced” (School Library Journal) middle grade adventure that’s perfect for fans of Aru Shah.
Naomi Teitelbaum is so ready for her Bat Mitzvah. Her prayers are memorized, and she’s definitely got a handle on her Torah portion (well, almost). Then she gets a mysterious gift: a tiny clay Golem. To Naomi’s shock, it comes to life—and obeys her every command.
At first, this small magical helper seems like the best Bat Mitzvah gift ever. But with each command, the Golem grows…and gets harder to hide. And creepy, unnatural creatures like dybbuks, demons, and a congregation of ghosts have started following Naomi around. To keep herself out of trouble and the Golem out of harm’s way, Naomi gives the Golem well-intended instructions: save the world.
Unfortunately, this leaves more room for interpretation than Naomi thought. Before long, the Golem is wreaking havoc all over Los Angeles, and only Naomi and her friends can stop it.
Samara Shanker has been making up stories about magic and monsters since she was a kid sneaking in extra reading past her bedtime. By graduate school, she had moved on to writing stories that reimagined the folklore and mythology she had always loved as a kid (mostly still written after bedtime, once she finished all her sensible homework). She now works as a tutor and children’s literacy specialist and gets to do most of her writing during the day, which has done wonders for her sleep schedule. She lives in Virginia with her rescue puppy, Jack Kirby, and devotes most of her time not spent working or writing to spoiling her niece and nephew. She is the author of Naomi Teitelbaum Ends the World and Rebecca Reznik Reboots the Universe.
Why We Love It
“I adore a girl and her Golem story! Naomi Teitelbaum Ends the World is a hugely fun and accessible read that does for Jewish folklore what Aru Shah does for Indian mythology, with a refreshing focus on personal responsibility.”
—Reka S., Editorial Director, on Naomi Teitelbaum Ends the World
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers (September 6, 2022)
"Shanker has created a refreshing, fast-paced book, while centering a culture often overlooked in middle grade fiction. Full of adventure and Jewish traditions and customs, Jewish readers will relish in recognizing their own culture, while other kids will root for good over evil and learn about the Jewish faith along the way."
– School Library Journal
"Linking the Golem tradition with a varied array of Jewish folktales, debut author Shanker gives Naomi and her friends problems to solve, challenges to overcome, and unexpected sources of counsel. . . the three tweens are stubbornly realistic even as they grapple with creatures from legend and folklore."
– Publishers Weekly
"There’s welcome ubiquity in the Judaism of the quest . . . multiple flavors of Ashkenazi American Judaism as well as demons and dybbuks from Jewish folklore. . . A comforting, satisfying allegory of justice and self-care centering Jewish themes."