Monday, August 5, 2013

Book Review: What a Way to Start a New Year! by Jacqueline Jules, Illustrated by Judy Stead

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

A family has just moved into a new house and is unsure how to spend the Rosh Hashanah holiday. They used to spend time with their neighbors in the city that they moved from. They plan to go visit them but a series of situations happen to prevent them from going. What looks like a lonely Rosh Hashanah with no specially prepared food turns into a one of much celebration when they are invited to services at a temple. The children receive a surprise later in the story that turns the situation around of not having any special food to celebrate the occasion. Each page contains a beautiful drawing to bring the story alive visually.

I liked the family’s willingness to go forward with another way to celebrate Rosh Hashanah when their original plan fell through. The story shows that we have to leave some friends behind sometimes and make some new friends; even though we can carry those past friends we can’t see anymore or as much in our hearts. The prayers and songs sounded the same as they did at their past synagogue to Dina (the little girl in the family), although all the faces of the people were new to her. That shows how hard it can be for children to adjust to new people and situations. The story also shows how much easier it is to have family and other people around to make the transition process easier, not just for children but for adults also. It was great to see the attitude of the family members turn around also; sometimes it just takes one person to turn a difficult situation around.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this book from Kar-Ben Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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