When Flory’s ancestors were forced to leave Spain during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, they took with them their two most precious possessions: the key to their old house and the Ladino language. When Flory left Europe after World War II, she carried Ladino with her, along with her other precious possessions: her harmoniku and the music of her family and their village in Bosnia, where they had settled after the Expulsion from Spain. But what of the key?
Flory Jagoda, now a nonagenarian, is known as the keeper of the flame of Sephardic music, as well as of the Ladino language. Flory traces her family back to Al-Andalus–medieval Muslim Spain–and then to Turkey and Bosnia. She has brought Sephardic music to people everywhere, around the country and the world, on stages, in schools, and in homes.
Ages 4 and up
* Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor 2020 *
*”Levy’s writing and Wimmer’s mixed-media illustrations strike the perfect synergy. . . . The writing is poetic and lyrical, effortlessly weaving centuries of history into the story while maintaining a strikingly intimate tone.”
—School Library Journal (starred review)
“An inspirational reclamation of history.”
“A worthy . . . homage to a language and its fervent promoter.”
“Levy’s impassioned text and Wimmer’s lavish pictures invite readers to learn more about the beauty of Sephardic culture through the story of Jagoda’s courageous life journey. . . . The Key from Spain is highly recommended. . . .”
—Jewish Book Council
“This powerful picture book biography of Ladino singer Flory Jagoda celebrates the importance of preserving connections to the past, even when you must travel to a new country.”
—A Mighty Girl
Flory Jagoda, with Susan Gaeta and Howard Bass, perform Flory’s famous song “Ocho Kandelikas.”
“La Yave d’Espanya” (“The Key from Spain”)
Trio Sefardi, a group inspired by Flory, sing her song “La Yave d’Espanya.”
“Sviraj Harmoniku” (“Play Your Accordion”)
This is Flory’s song about her escape from Zagreb on a train during World War II.