Devyn Fussman

Polyglot by Devyn Fussman

Polyglot: a person who knows multiple languages, AKA, Isabell Berzynski. She’s the only seventh grader who loves French class and the 6 other languages she’s learning for fun. Her dream job is world traveler, starting with Madame Angélique’s spring break trip to Europe.

Though Isabell’s immersed in the world of words, her protective parents don’t understand a thing she says about traveling. They want her safely in Plainville (population: 1,000), preparing for her bat mitzvah and making Jewish American friends. Not spending hours in GoGlobe chatrooms with foreign kids and reading travel guides. Besides, they can’t afford the class trip. They’re too busy paying for a venue, a caterer, and everything else a Jewish girl needs to come of age.

Isabell has 6 months to earn $2,100 and convince her family, especially her mother, that her baby, her only baby, is ready to leave the nest and see the world—even if she’s eleven.

Soon Isabell’s teaching English to immigrants with Madame Angélique, Latin to the deaf kids at her dad’s school, and French to her fellow classmates—all while juggling Hebrew school, regular school, and studying the Torah with Rabbi Josef. Still, earning the money is only half the battle. Winning over her mother is the hard part.

Every day Isabell’s yearning to see what’s beyond Plainville’s Jewish community grows. She has to follow her dream, even if her mother isn’t ready for it.

Polyglot is a 50,891-word middle-grade novel inspired by my Jewish American family and semester abroad.


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