How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

Hereville #1. Amulet Books (Nov. 2010) Library
Spunky, strong-willed eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg isn’t interested in knitting lessons from her stepmother, or how-to-find-a-husband advice from her sister, or you-better-not warnings from her brother. There’s only one thing she does want: to fight dragons!

Granted, no dragons have been breathing fire around Hereville, the Orthodox Jewish community where Mirka lives, but that doesn’t stop the plucky girl from honing her skills. She fearlessly stands up to local bullies. She battles a very large, very menacing pig. And she boldly accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, a challenge that could bring Mirka her heart’s desire: a dragon-slaying sword! All she has to do is find—and outwit—the giant troll who’s got it!

Mirka lives in the town of Hereville where everyone is Orthodox Jewish. The Orthodox Jewish community has certain traditions that don't involve Mirka's dream to slay dragons, but when Mirka finds her chance to obtain a sword perfect for slaying dragons she can't help take it even with the warnings from her kid brother. Will Mirka be able to get past the troll or will her dream become a nightmare?

I don't know much about the Orthodox Jewish community so it was nice to learn about their traditions and some Yiddish words along the way. Mirka enjoys her religion, but she's not concerned about being good for a future husband or learning to knit with her stepmom. No, Mirka is more concerned with monsters and being a rebel. Being a rebel is what got her into the mess of having to fight off a revenge seeking pig, her brother's bullies, and a troll that wants to eat her for breakfast. She has to use her guts and her stepmom's wisdom in order to survive.

Mirka is what I would describe best as a smart-aleck just like her step mom. They are constantly getting into arguments and you can really see the similarities between them. Mirka also doesn't like to conform to what people think of her. When her brother said she couldn't fight a troll because she's a girl well I was laughing in his face as she threatened him. Needless to say, I love the girl's spirit. Her story was hilarious, heartwarming, and had me supporting Mirka through her whole journey.

Do you enjoy learning about new religions and cultures in books?


  1. This sounds like a great book. I love to learn about other cultures and or religions in books. I have learned so much reading about the lives of people who are different from me. Thanks for sharing this one!

    1. It's really funny and a great story that I'm sure you will like.Stephanie. If you have any suggestions of books like this I would love to know.

  2. Looks and sounds very fun! I hope I can find a copy of it soon. Menacing pigs are tough battles.


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