Jerusalem: A Family Portrait

Jerusalem: A Family Portrait
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
April 16, 2013
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Jerusalem is a sweeping, epic work that follows a single family—three generations and fifteen very different people—as they are swept up in chaos, war, and nation-making from 1940-1948. Faith, family, and politics are the heady mix that fuel this ambitious, cinematic graphic novel.

With Jerusalem, author-filmmaker Boaz Yakin turns his finely-honed storytelling skills to a topic near to his heart: Yakin's family lived in Palestine during this period and was caught up in the turmoil of war just as his characters are. This is a personal work, but it is not a book with a political ax to grind. Rather, this comic seeks to tell the stories of a huge cast of memorable characters as they wrestle with a time when nothing was clear and no path was smooth. Show more Show less

Editor review

1 review
Graphic Novel Adaption of Founding of Israel Told through Eyes of Two Families
Overall rating
Writing Style
I’m a huge fan of graphic novels. I also love books that present historical events in an appealing way for reluctant readers. I was very excited when I received the graphic novel JERUSALEM from :01 First Second, one of my favorite graphic novel publishers.

First off, this graphic novel doesn’t flinch from what can be a very sensitive subject. We are introduced to two families in 1940 Palestine and follow them for three generations. They witness the chaos that comes right after World War II when the British pull out of Palestine.

This is an intriguing and brave concept that shows the horrors of war. Some scenes were almost too intense for me. Others though show that all those living in Palestine had to make hard decisions. I would have stopped reading if any group of individuals had been labeled the ‘bad guys’. Instead I felt the authors did a great job showing the passion of those who loved their county and were willing to die for it.

What didn’t work so much for me was how confusing the novel got at times as I felt there were almost too characters to keep straight. I almost wonder if instead of concentrating of all of the two families maybe just sticking with two individuals? That would have made the story easier to follow and for me to be more invested in the outcome. But that’s just me.

I do admit some of the illustrations were almost too intense for me, especially the ones that show children dying. The black and white illustrations show the starkness of the time period and the harshness of war.

This graphic novel shows so much of the history leading up to the building of Israel the nation. It doesn’t sugar-coat the story at all. I’d say this book would be great for engaging older reluctant readers who would otherwise be lost in this world event. Also I think it would be a great addition in a high school history class. I’m sure this novel would open up some interesting discussions.

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