Blue Thread cover
Blue Thread
Winner, 2013 Oregon Book Award
Leslie Bradshaw Award for
Young Adult Literature

OBA Seal

Ooligan Press, 2012

Pages: 296

Grade Level: 4-11

Age Level: 10 and older

Available at most booksellers, including:
Barnes & Noble
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It's 1912. Sixteen-year-old Miriam Josefsohn is groomed for the life of a socialite, but dreams of working in the family print shop. When her father refuses to train her as his replacement, Miriam decides to take control of her life and devotes herself to women's suffrage at the height of the Oregon campaign. In the process, she meets the mysterious Serakh, who inquires about a special shawl with a single blue thread. Miriam discovers that this family heirloom, her great-grandmother's prayer shawl, is capable of transporting her thousands of years into the past, where she is introduced to the daughters of Zelophehad and their ancient struggle for women's rights. With Serakh as her guide, Miriam embarks on a journey to alter the past, but will she have the courage to fight for her own future?


Hooray for Miriam! Just the kind of young woman I like—curious, compassionate, intelligent, independent, and determined. Her story is told in Blue Thread, a wonderfully written novel about her struggle to be herself, to be honest, and to be just. In an intriguing blend of fantasy and historical fiction, Miriam finds the battles of the past informing her present and inspiring her future. I cheered her efforts, her courage, and her rewards— and so will you.
—Karen Cushman, author of The Midwife’s Apprentice, awarded a 1996 Newbery Medal

Ruth Tenzer Feldman does a beautiful job peering into the bonds that bring us together, tear us apart, and allow us to travel beyond ourselves.
—Anne Osterlund, author of Academy 7, Oregon Book Award finalist

Miriam's journey in Blue Thread is both magical and inspiring. No doubt, like the blue thread itself, her story will be passed down from mothers to daughters—and, if there is any justice, from fathers to sons as well.
—David Michael Slater, author of the Sacred Books series

Ruth Tenzer Feldman has created a rare gem—a story that looks into the heart and the soul of the suffrage movement in Portland, Oregon a hundred years ago.
—Rosanne Parry, author of Heart of a Shepherd, awarded a Kirkus Reviews 2009 "Best Book of the Year"


Serakh’s hazel eyes glistened. She kissed the embroidered edge and draped the shawl around her shoulders and mine. My whole body relaxed as if I were soaking in a warm bath. Then she wrapped the corner fringe with the blue thread around her fingers.
    "Many Miriams of your line have worn this shawl. Many have traveled."
    "Pardon?" The thread commenced to gleam as brightly as a filament in Mr. Edison's light bulbs. My heart lurched.
    "How did you do that?"
    "No matter, Miriam. Are you ready to visit Tirtzah? You have only to touch this thread."
    I willed my hands to stay at my side. Surely this parlor trick had a rational explanation. "I have to be back before my parents return."
    "We shall take no time at all."
    "Oh, does Tirtzah live around here? The only Tirtzah I’ve heard about is supposed to be in the Book of Numbers."
    "I do not know of such a book." Serakh hummed to herself. She looked longingly at the licorice nibs, but didn't ask for another piece.
    The grandfather clock ticked in the hall. Serakh stroked the blue thread with her free hand. "Miriam," she said softly, "I cannot make you touch this thread, so I ask again for the sake of Tirtzah and our people. Tirtzah struggles to share in her father’s dream. Will you come?"