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Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Happy Hanukkah! Schmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe, illustrated by Howard McWilliam

Schmelf the Hanukkah Elf

Shmelf is one of Santa’s most important elves. He’s part of the List Checking department, and he makes sure all the good boys and girls get their presents! But when Shmelf finds out that some children are missing from Santa’s list, he goes to investigate.

What Shmelf uncovers is Hanukkah, a wondrous and joyful holiday that Jewish families celebrate each year. As Shmelf observes a family lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and hearing the Hanukkah story, he sees how special the traditions of the holiday truly are-and he wants to be a part of it! Luckily, Santa just might have a special role in mind for Shmelf….

Isn’t that the cutest little elf face ever? I love that this book is focused on the little ones. I know some little ones don’t understand that they celebrate differently than their friends. Here’s a way to make Hanukkah feel special for the little ones who are confused or who want to learn about Hanukkah.

Schmelf!

This fun book counts for their Diversity Reading Challenge!

Categories
Children Diversity Reading Challenge

A fun new book for Hanukkah: Schmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe, Howard McWilliam

Schmelf the Hanukkah Elf

Shmelf is one of Santa’s most important elves. He’s part of the List Checking department, and he makes sure all the good boys and girls get their presents! But when Shmelf finds out that some children are missing from Santa’s list, he goes to investigate.

What Shmelf uncovers is Hanukkah, a wondrous and joyful holiday that Jewish families celebrate each year. As Shmelf observes a family lighting the menorah, playing dreidel, and hearing the Hanukkah story, he sees how special the traditions of the holiday truly are-and he wants to be a part of it! Luckily, Santa just might have a special role in mind for Shmelf….

Isn’t that the cutest little elf face ever? I love that this book is focused on the little ones. I know some little ones don’t understand that they celebrate differently than their friends. Here’s a way to make Hanukkah feel special for the little ones who are confused or who want to learn about Hanukkah.

Schmelf!

Even though this book is for the littles, let’s make it count for their Diversity Reading Challenge.

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2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books

#AtoZChallenge – M My Name is Asher Lev

Welcome to M!

I have kind of a different book for you today. To be sure, the book classifies as multicultural, diverse and all those wonderful things that make the world go around:

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

 

I’ve been promising myself to read this book forever and here’s why:

Asher Lev is a Ladover Hasid who keeps kosher, prays three times a day and believes in the Ribbono Shel Olom, the Master of the Universe. Asher Lev is an artist who is compulsively driven to render the world he sees and feels even when it leads him to blasphemy. In this stirring and often visionary novel, Chaim Potok traces Asher’s passage between these two identities, the one consecrated to God, the other subject only to the imagination.

Asher Lev grows up in a cloistered Hasidic community in postwar Brooklyn, a world suffused by ritual and revolving around a charismatic Rebbe. But in time his gift threatens to estrange him from that world and the parents he adores. As it follows his struggle, My Name Is Asher Lev becomes a luminous portrait of the artist, by turns heartbreaking and exultant, a modern classic.

Why on earth would I be interested in this? Well, years and years ago I happened upon another book by the author called, The Chosen.  You might have seen the movie, with Robby Benson, I believe.  Anyway, having grown up in a mildly nonreligious home (aside from attending church with my piano playing gram) I was interested in what makes devoutly people, kids, tick.

Since I had little knowledge of Jewish life, save for Fiddler on the Roof, I decided it was time to learn about other religions. I know I was pretty astute (nerdy) for a kid. I couldn’t  imagine a kid who is forced to behave one way while yearning to follow another set of rules, like art, for example.

I’ve since come to value the beliefs of most religions and find Hasidism especially interesting so that’s why I’m wanting to read about Asher Lev.

So tell me, have you read this book? What about The Chosen? Anything about other very strict Jewish cultures? Tell me so I can enjoy that book too!

 

 

 

Categories
Children

When the Chickens Went on Strike a Rosh Hashanah Tale

When the Chickens went on Strike

When the Chickens Went on Strike by Erica Silverman

 

Here’s a Rosh Hashanah tale that reminds me of Click clack moo, cows that type because the animals get fed up with the “abuse” they suffer at the hands of Jewish people celebrating Rosh Hashanah. They decide to strike! Reminds me so much of the cows demands that they make on Farmer Brown.  I love how the author has taken the very old tale and turned it into something families can share together.  What child won’t delight in reading about a good kid (not unlike themselves) who overhears the chickens discussing their demands?

Here’s a video with my thoughts.

 

What do you think? Do you have a fave Rosh Hashanah book from your childhood?

Children’s eBooks

Categories
Children

Happy Passover! A book for the littles

If you celebrate Passover you might want to share this cute title with your littles.  This is the Matzah by Abby Levine

Unconvetional Librarian Matzah

I’m not going to try to explain the Passover tradition because other people have done it beautifully. Look at this website I found called Benjamen Kanarek Blog. It’s artistic illustrations are beeeeeyoooootiful!

Meanwhile, I’m perfecting David Leibovitz’s Matzoh Toffee dessert.

Toffee Matzah

 

It’s so good it tastes like crack. Like I know from crack, huh? Anyway, this yummy delicious treat sends me over the edge in delightful eating!

I’ll be sitting with my husband’s family sharing their history and traditions (and hopefully avoiding the gefilte). If you celebrate what’s your favorite food?

 

Categories
Books Young Adult

Hotlight Spotlight: My Basmati Bat Mitzvah, Paula J Freedman

My Basmati Bat Mitzvah

 

I know you’re thinking what I’m thinking, what in the world? To be sure, I’m not a fan of the cover, but I love the idea of combining the two ethnicities for a fun read!

During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-o–who might also be her boyfriend–and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with that snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith.

How fun does that sound? I’m thinking Bend it Like Beckham meets I don’t know what in YA.  Anyway, this looks like a fun chick lit type read that might also teach you a thing or two about Hindi and Judaism.

If only I could get an invite to that Bat Mitzvah, there will surely be some yummy food!

Categories
Books Non Fiction

A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead a TLC Blog Tour

Close your eyes and visualize with me for a minute.  France, 1930s, and women.  What comes to mind? Do you think of:

The Eiffel Tower?  Yes.  What about:

 

baguettes? Probably.

Do you think about fashionable french women?

courtesy tumblr.the1930s

Certainly!

But what about Hitler? Death Camps? Antisemitism? War or resistance?

These are topics you probably don’t naturally associate with France unless you know your French history.

A train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead, provides one of the most thorough investigations into women’s roles during the German occupation in World War II.  It is incredible to discover that regular women, housewives and mothers, became resistors to the war effort.

These brave and clever women made bombs, transported secret documents, and organized clandestine meetings right underneath the watchful German eye during the occupation of France.

 

 

These are the faces of powerful young women in France during the 1930s.

These incredible women performed acts that they knew were dangerous and could and would and did cost some of them their lives.  But they did them anyway.  They hid their children with relatives.  They often lived nomadic lives rarely sleeping in the same home twice.  And what I find most incredible about this?  They did not have the modern conveniences we have today.  There was no hairdryer or take out when they were hungry and needed a quick bite.  They couldn’t text a girlfriend to see if they could sleep at her apartment.  There was no GPS to track where their loved ones were being held prisoner.

None of that. But yet they persisted because they fought for what they believed in.  Many of these women were sent to concentration camps for being a Jewess or helping Jews or for resisting the Nazi occupation. They were beaten, gassed, shot, or worse.   Some of these women formed friendships during this incredibly difficult time.

So what can you take away from a fact heavy book like this?  That being a woman is not limiting, regardless of your situation or the time period in which you live.  It takes a bunch of ordinary women to make something extraordinary happen.  A train in Winter will force you to look at French women differently.

Perhaps you will catch some of their joi de vivre?

 

I give A Train in Winter by Caroline Moorehead four paws for its powerful depiction of women fighting for Jewish rights.

 

 

 

Categories
Books

Book Review: I am Forbidden – From Left to Write

For the May, From Left to Write offered us a chance to read

I am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits

As I struggled to gain control of my thoughts,

I thought you might appreciate watching.

So here are my thoughts on video.

I apologize in advance for the many movements of my head.

Close your eyes, listen to my voice, or imagine

you and I are sharing a cup of coffee

and discussing this book.

Thanks for viewing!

This post is inspired by I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits. Though not sisters by blood but through their Hasidic faith, Mila and Atara views the rules and structure of their culture differently. Mila seeks comfort in the Torah while Atara searches for answers in secular literature she is forbidden to read. Ultimately each must make an irrevocable decision that will change their lives forever. Join From Left to Write on May 8 as we discuss I AM FORBIDDEN. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge Books

#AtoZChallenge: T-Tuck Everlasting

A to Z challenge button

I can hardly believe we’re on the letter T!

The letter T is tricky because there are lots of words that start with it;

“The” notwithstanding, I want to focus on a word that cannot be so easily dropped

so…

T is for

Tuck Everlasting!

unconventional librarian

I know, I know, the book is the mass media movie tie in

but don’t let that put you off the book.

This is a sweet story that discusses life and death so very sweetly!

To be sure, the movie is not as good, although the cast is phenomenal.

Where would this world be without Natalie Babbitt?

and

as a bonus, I want to share with you

This is the Matzah by Abby Levine

Unconvetional Librarian Matzah

If you need a tale for the kiddos about Passover, this is a good one.

Don’t forget to buy a box of Matzos, hide it, and then let your littles find it.

The finder gets a prize!

Here’s what I did with my matzah:

look yummy?

click here for my recipe.

Wow what letter is next?

U

uh oh…what do I have planned?