Thursday, February 16, 2017

Book Review: A Concert in the Sand by Fami Shem-Tov and Rachella Sandbank, Illustrated by Avi Ofer

A Concert in the Sand
This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Uri is bored hanging out at the delicatessen his mom and dad operate. He spends the day with his grandmother instead. Even though there is a communication gap between them because she only speaks German, Uri discovers a little bit about what she is thinking as he spends time with her. They start out at the beach and then find themselves on the street, the park, the site of a building being constructed, and a parade they become a part of brings them to an auditorium to hear an concert by an orchestra!

This story shows that a day hanging out with a grandparent and learning about their interests can be very interesting and fun! I found it interesting that this is fictionalized story about the first ever performance of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Bronislaw Huberman, the founder of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, makes an appearance in the orchestra as a violinist. In my opinion, this is a great way to teach children about the history behind the orchestra through the story itself, the illustrations, and the historical note in the back of the book.

My review = 5 out of 5 starsI received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Book Review: A Different Kind of Passover by Linda Leopold-Strauss, Illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

A little girl is used to celebrating Passover (Pesach) a certain way with her family. Her grandfather just got out of the hospital though and it is feeling much different. He is confined to his room and that doesn't seem right to her. She thinks of an idea of how he can be included with Passover from his room, and although Passover is not exactly the same as it was the year before, at least Grandpa can still participate.

I liked how the little girl found a way to include her grandfather in Passover and adapted to the changes. I think that helped lift her grandfather's spirit also. I also liked how the family was willing to take her suggestion.

The only thing I had a hard time with was a place in the book where it explained a teen (youth) sipped some wine. I know it's a tradition during/after bar mitzvahs but I fear that could develop into something stronger for some youth. I would feel more comfortable leaving that part of the story out if I read this story to any children.

To me this sounds like a story of hope, not just for the grandpa in the story that is trying to recover but for the whole family!

My review = 4 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.


 
 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Book Review: Passover Scavenger Hunt by Shanna Silva, Illustrated by Miki Sakamoto

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Great-Uncle Harry usually hides the afikomen every Passover but Rachel wants to create something new and exciting for the other children in her family. She creates a fun game that gives clues of where the afikomen is. Some of the clues seem kind of harder than others but the children always figure them out and are eventually led to the afikomen.

I think children will like learning about how Rachel turned finding the afikomen into a fun game. She gave Great-Uncle Harry a break of being in charge of hiding it and it allowed her to be more involved with Passover. This book might even prompt other families to create a fun games such as Rachel created to find the afikomen during Passover!

This story is a great way to show Passover through the eyes of a child and how it can be more fun for some children to find the afikomen!

My review = 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.


Ages: 4-9
Grades: PreK-3

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review: Sammy Spider's Passover Shapes by Sylvia A. Rouss, Illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Sammy is hanging around the Shapiro family again, this time watching them get ready for Passover (Pesach). While they are cleaning he makes spider webs in different shapes of items that relate to Passover. After all the webs that the spider makes, Sammy wonders if spiders can celebrate Passover. The spider's mom replies in a way that will probably make many children smile.

This is a short book that will help children learn about basic shapes and also about items that are often included in Passover. I like that some words associated with Passover are highlighted in blue, I feel like that will give teachers and parents a chance to pause to explain those words better. I also like that the pages of the book are hard because I think the book will last longer in a classroom because of that.

My review = 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Ages: 1-4
Grades: Pre-K

Monday, February 6, 2017

Book Review: Under the Sabbath Lamp by Michael Herman, Illustrated by Alida Massari

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Izzy and Oliva Bloom are invited to Sabbath dinner by many families throughout their neighborhood. Oliva made lemon bars and Izzy brought homemade cherry cordial. Their dinners were festive times which included the lighting of two candles, a blessing for welcoming Shabbat, eating the meal, singing Shabbat songs, and eating dessert. One day they decide to invite their neighbors to a Shabbat meal at their house. Their guests are shocked that they don't light candles at the start of Shabbat. The Bloom's explain to them that they use a Hanging Sabbath Lamp instead and give the story behind how they inherited it. That store inspires their neighbors to talk about things that they inherited in their families as well.

This story gives a glimpse about how people celebrated the Sabbath in earlier times. It shows that there is another way to bring in the Sabbath with candles. The Sabbath lamp illuminated the whole dining room, which gave light to the table, the people that sat under it, and the meal. I liked the note about the Hanging Sabbath Lamp in the back of the book, which shows a picture of one. This book can be (and probably already has been to some people) a door opener about more ancient ways of celebrating Sabbath. It will help children to compare how Sabbath candle lighting is done in a lot of families today through lighting candles at the table, versus using a Hanging Sabbath Lamp in earlier times.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received a hardback copy of this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Ages: 3-8
Grades: PreK-2

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Book Review: Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, Illustrations by Chiara Fedele

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

Yaffa is Jewish and Fatima is Muslim. Both love God but worship differently. One attends a synagogue and the other attends a mosque. Both of them own a date grove and spend time each week gathering dates. Hard times come and both of them worry about each other, that they won't have enough dates. Both of them find a way to get some of their dates to the other that shows a deep kindness and love towards each other.

This book shows differences and similarities in the Jewish religion versus the Muslim religion. The story and illustrations show the different ways women dress, different ways of saying "peace", different foods that they eat, different times of fasting, different religious books they read from in the morning, Teachers, parents, or anybody else that reads this book to children can look those words up ahead of time or after the story is read though.

I like how this book shows the differences and similarities of each religion to show that both want to follow God through their religions. I also like that this book showed how dates are an important food for both religions.

I wish there was a glossary in the back of the book so some of the words can be defined when reading this book to children, such as for some of the foods and holy days that are mentioned from both religions. Even though the Bible is not specifically mentioned, I can see where at least one of the groups incorporated it into their life through a Biblical holiday, while both of them were showing a love of their neighbor.

My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received a paperback copy of this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Ages: 4-9
Grades: PreK-3

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Book Review: Purim is Coming by Tracy Newman, Illustrated by Viviana Garofoli

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

A family is getting ready for Purim...they make cookies and fill baskets with that and other treats. When Purim starts the children dress up, parade around, and play a carnival game. Their family attends a congregation service while making noises with groggers and have a party!

This book shows that Purim can be fun not just for children but for adults too, with how they helped the children to make cookies, were involved in the congregation service, and were a part of the party. The Purim party seemed to have brought together many of the elements of how the family prepared for it: the cookies that were made were used, the children wore their costumes they dressed up in, and there were balloons like there were during the carnival game.

This is a fun book and another great Very First Board Book edition!

My review= 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

ISBN: 978-1-5124-0827-0
  • 12 Pages
  • 6 1/2 x 6 1/2
  • Full-Color Illustrations

  • Ages: 1-4
    Grades: PreK