The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music

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.

Kar-Ben Publishing
Ages 4 and up
ISBN 978-1-5415-2218-3

Buy the book:
IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


* Sydney Taylor Book Award Honor 2020 *

Tablet Best Jewish Children’s Books of 2019

A 2020 Bank Street College Best Children’s Book

A Mighty Girl 2019 Book of the Year

*”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


Videos and Music

“Ocho Kandelikas”
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.

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