Green Bean Books

The Girl with the Secret Name

The Incredible Life of Doña Gracia Mendes Nasi

Written by Yael Zoldan

Price: £12.99 / $13.99
Pages: 192
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781805000983


  • A children’s biography of ‘Doña Gracia’ Mendes Nasi, the Jewish Portuguese philanthropist from the 1500s whose story has, until recently, been largely overlooked

  • A middle-grade, history book aimed at children aged 8-12
  • A timeline and a family tree at the back of the book help to guide young readers through the story
  • Covers the complex subject of the expulsion and forcible conversion of Jews during the Inquisition in an informative and age-appropriate way


“We are guardians of a great treasure. We are links in a precious chain,” Papa paused, and Beatriz felt her heart pounding. This sounded very exciting! Her Papa looked up and his dark eyes caught hers. “My daughter, we are Jews.”

The Girl with the Secret Name tells the inspiring true story of Beatriz de Luna or ‘Doña Gracia’ Mendes Nasi, the 16th-century Jewish Portuguese philanthropist who saved the lives of hundreds of conversos across Europe during the Inquisition by establishing an escape network for them.

The book recounts almost all of Doña Gracia’s remarkable life, beginning in 1522 on the eve of her 12th birthday when she learns that her family are secretly Jewish. It then follows her journey throughout the 1500s as she and her family move from Portugal to the Netherlands, and on to Italy and Turkey, trying to escape danger, while saving the lives of conversos as they went, up to her death in Istanbul in 1569.

Highly informative and moving, Yael Zoldan’s retelling of Doña Gracia’s story will teach young readers about the importance of family, community and standing up for yourself and others when you know something is not right.

Author Details

Yael Zoldan is a freelance writer and author of several other popular Jewish children’s books including We Can Do Mitzvos from Aleph to Tav, We Can Do Mitzvos Around the Jewish Year, When I Daven and the Shimmy Shambone Series.