In 1939, as a child of 3, Sonia Levitin fled Hitler's Germany with her family. The first friend she made in the United States was a small African American girl. Nearly 50 years later, as a well-established writer of young adult fiction, Levitin won the National Jewish Book Award for "The Return" (Atheneum, 1987). This historical novel focuses on the plight of Ethiopian Jews, who consider themselves descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. In tracing their perilous journey from Africa to Israel via Operation Moses in 1984, Levitin combined her long-standing interest in African culture with her own childhood memories of leaving her homeland behind.