A Ceiling Made of Eggshells

A Ceiling Made of Eggshells
Age Range
Release Date
May 12, 2020
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In A Ceiling Made of Eggshells, Newbery Honor-winning author Gail Carson Levine tells a moving and ambitious story set during the expulsion of Jews from Spain, about a young Jewish girl full of heart who must play her own role in her people’s epic history—no matter the sacrifice.

Surrounded by her large family, Loma is happy living in the judería of Alcalá de Henares, Spain, and wants nothing more than to someday have a family of her own.

Still, when her intimidating grandfather, her Belo, decides to bring her along on his travels, she’s excited to join him. Belo has the ear of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, and Loma relishes her adventures with him, adventures that are beyond the scope of most girls of the time. She soon learns just how dangerous the world is for the Jews of Spain, and how her grandfather’s influence keeps their people safe.

But the older Loma gets, the more she longs to realize her own dreams—if Belo will ever allow her to leave his side.

Editor review

1 review
A Ceiling Made of Eggshells
(Updated: May 01, 2020)
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Paloma, 'Loma' wants nothing more than to be a mother with children. She ends up being her grandfather's constant companion as he goes to various Spanish towns to pay 'taxes' for a war. He's also friends with Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, who want Loma to convert to Catholicism. Loma though is proud of her Jewish heritage. As she gets older, times get harder with the rumor that the Queen and King will force the Jews to leave Spain unless they convert. Later, Loma finds that she might play an important role in her people's history.

What worked: This is a fascinating, engaging glimpse into later 15th century Spain and the exodus of the Jewish people. The story starts when Loma is seven years old and recovering from the plague. Her elderly grandfather-Belo-takes her as his companion on his numerous trips throughout Spain. Loma witnesses first hand the prejudice against her people. The pressure to convert and become a converso-is very intense. And there's no guarantee that the Inquisition or others will accuse you of crimes.

What was really appealing to me, is how one of my own ancestors, a converso-came over with Cortez during this time. I love reading stories that cover the Spanish Inquisition and show what happened to those who refused to convert.

I really liked how the author shows Loma's wisdom with the Spanish monarchy and how against odds, she never strays from her beliefs. Readers see how Christians treated the Jews at that time. Not all were unkind. Also Loma's family's faithful servant Hamdun, who stays with her even when others don't. An interesting history fact is how Muslims who were captured during the Spanish war were turned into servants or slaves.

Captivating story of a young Jewish girl who's devotion to not only her beloved grandfather, but her Jewish heritage, strengthens her during a horrific time in history.
Good Points
1. Engaging historical set in Spain in the later 15th century
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