Young reader’s review: Apple Cake and Baklava

In the first of two young reader reviews today, we’re delighted to welcome back Isabel, aged 11, with her latest review of a translated book for junior readers (middle grade fiction). Over to you, Isabel…

By Isabel

Title: Apple Cake and Baklava

Author: Kathrin Rohmann

Translated by: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

Publisher: Darf Publishing, UK

Translated from: German


Max lives a fairly normal life in Germany, when Syrian refugee Leila arrives. She left Syria with her mother, and her two brothers meaning her father and grandma are still in Syria. She struggles to make friends but the girl who sits next to her, Jette, seems nice. She keeps her head down so as not to draw attention to herself and tries to speak to people as little as possible so they don’t comment on her German accent. Max soon realises that Leila misses her family, so when Lina loses the most precious thing to her, a walnut from grandmother’s garden back in Syria, she’s in pieces. Max then knows that he has to help her find it, and they begin by making a map of the school taking them around all the places she had been to. With many things leading them off-course, will they ever succeed in finding Leila’s walnut?

Why I Liked the Book

Apple Cake and Baklava is a great book that teaches you a lot about what it means to be different and what it’s like trying to fit in. You get to learn about two completely different cultures and it really shows that variation really does make up the world.

I think the main two messages in the book are 1. It’s OK to be different and think different things. 2. Even if you’re not with a loved one they will always be with you: in your heart.

The characters are very strong and fit their parts perfectly, and I liked the way they have to work together in the end to get Leila’s walnut back. You can take away so many things from this book, it’s great. Overall, I rate it a 3 out of 5.


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