Monthly Archives: March 2011

Purim and Passover Book List

Thank you to member Andi Davidson for compiling this list of holiday titles.

New for Purim

Cakes and Miracles, a beloved Purim story by Barbara Diamond Goldin, has been republished with engaging new illustrations by Jaime Zollars (Marshall Cavendish, 2010) The slightly shorter text tells the comforting story of a blind boy whose artistic vision inspires him to create fanciful Purim cookies that his mother sells in the village marketplace. As Hershel uses his ability to visualize the cookies in his mind to overcome his disability, he wins the gratitude of his mother, the admiration of their neighbors, and the possibility of a productive future.  For Kdg. – Gr. 3.

Problems in Purimville: A Purim Story by Karen Fisman, illustrated by Wendy Faust (JoRa Books, 2010) is a fanciful story in which two brave children find themselves in Purimville, where gremlins are making trouble, ruining hamentaschen, and spoiling Purimspiel costumes.  With the help of the hamentaschen, they scare the gremlins away and save the holiday.  This charming story combines mystery, fantasy, and adventure with colorful illustrations that will entice young readers.  For Kdg. – Gr. 3.

The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale, written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Jill Weber (Holiday House, 2011) is told in a storyteller’s style, with rich vocabulary and rising suspense.  It parallels the biblical story, with beauty pageants, murder plots, political jockeying, feasts, secrets, and the vanquishing of evil-doers all leading to a glorious victory over tyranny.  The delightful illustrations suggest humor and foreshadow the happy ending, brought about by courage and Jewish moral fiber.  For grades 1-3.


New for Passover

Are children coming to your Seder?  Delight them with these new books:

Try a little Afikoman Mambo by Rabbi Joe Black, illustrated by Linda Prater (Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2011). A catchy rhyming text in this upbeat picture book is complemented by watercolor illustrations of cheerful, multiracial children enjoying their large family’s Seder.  The rollicking story and sing-along CD will liven up Seders for all ages. It would also make a great gift for the afikoman-finders! For preschool – Kdg.

In Hoppy Passover by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Daniel Howarth (Whitman, 2011) charming bunnies Violet and Simon introduce the concepts of the holiday as they prepare to celebrate Passover with their family.  The sweet story and the cozy paintings showing a loving family sharing their holiday traditions are just right for young children who may be learning about Passover for the first time.  For preschool – Kdg.


For Cooks of All Ages

Let My People Eat!  Passover Seders Made Simple by Zell Schulman (Wiley, 1998), The New York Times Passover Cookbook (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1999), and Passover by Design: Picture-perfect Kosher by Design Recipes by Susie Fishbein (Mesorah, 2008) are just a few of the many collections of scrumptious recipes for Passover.

Kids will enjoy Matzah Meals: A Passover Cookbook for Kids by Judy Tabs and Barbara Steinberg, illustrated by Bill Hauser (Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2004),  a collection of recipes that range from the no-cooking variety for young children to more complicated ones for teens.   The Kids’ Catalog of Passover: A Worldwide Celebration of Stories, Songs, Customs, Crafts, Food, and Fun by Barbara Rush and Cherie Karo Schwartz (Jewish Publication Society, 2000) is filled with fun activities to help make Passover a joyous occasion for all ages.

Visit local synagogue and community libraries to sample the vast variety of books about Passover for adults and for children.




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Filed under Book Lists, Holidays, Passover, Purim

Interview with Linda Silver

On Sunday March 13th at 1:00 in the Hartzmark Library of Temple Tifereth Israel, please join our chaper as we celebrate the publication of Linda Silver’s new book, Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens.   Thank you to Linda for taking the time to answer a few questions.  

(AJL GCC) How did you become interested in Jewish Literature for children?

            (LINDA  SILVER) First, I believe I was born to be a reader.  In library school, I was educated to be a children’s librarian.  Children’s books are my love and they have been the focal point of my professional career.  When I became a synagogue librarian, I learned the power of books to inculcate Jewish values and Jewish identity, to express the honor of being Jewish, and to ignite the curiosity of Jewish children.

(AJL-GCC) What are the challenges of writing about Jewish Books for children?

            (LS)Writing about books requires discipline and concentration along with deep knowledge and even deeper respect for the power of literature to illuminate human experience.  Perhaps my biggest challenge when I was writing Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens was working with JPS’s superb copy editor, Janet Liss.  She questioned almost everything I wrote and made me a better author of a better book in the process.

(AJL GCC) Are there any new, up-and-coming authors that you recommend?

           (LS)  I admire the passion and authenticity of writers like Margot Rabb, Sarah Darer Littman, Erica Silverman, and the pseudonymous Eshes Chayil, who wrote Hush. 

          (AJL GCC) What can attendees expect to hear about during your presentation?

            (LS) I intend for my presentation to be a discussion of what makes a best book, what makes a Jewish book, and how librarians can use my book to enhance their own work in school and synagogue libraries.

 (AJL GCC) What is your favorite AJL memory or experience?

            (LS) Just one?  Winning AJL’s Fanny Goldstein Award for meritorious service to Judaic libraries was a great honor.

            Serving on and then chairing the Sydney Taylor Book Award committee was a wonderful experience that has influenced my subsequent career as well as forming some treasured friendships.

            Experiencing how the Greater Cleveland Chapter coalesced to pull off the 1996 AJL convention in Cleveland was a roller coaster ride.  The planning for that convention got off to a very rocky start.  Seven of us in AJL-GCC formed a planning committee, meeting once a week at Fran Friedman’s, having a sometimes trying but more often great time of it, bonding over our shared goal of creating a great Cleveland experience, and remaining friends ever since.

            Funniest memory of a person with a sardonic sense of humor: the convention Awards banquet when the Sydney Taylor Book Award winning author gave a long but entirely inaudible speech; the winning illustrator’s foreign accent made his speech incomprehensible; and the winning Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award winner chose to tell the audience all about her infertility problems. Oy!

To RSVP to Sunday’s program, please contact Ilka Gordon at:


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