Archive for September, 2009

Even Higher by Eric Kimmel

This year brought a great new addition to Rosh Hashanah books: a new version of the Even Higher story. Last year I blogged about liking but not loving the version that was out there. The illustrations just didn’t do it for me.

Even Higher

Even Higher

This year, there’s a new Even Higher — this time written by Eric Kimmel and illustrated with the fantastic illustrations of Jill Weber. It’s a slightly different telling (and includes a dancing grandmother, a drinking song and a little more theology). Basically, borrowing and editing from last year’s post:

Based on a story by the great I.L. Peretz, It’s about a couple of boys skeptic who see the rabbi disappear the day before Rosh Hashanah every year. This year, they’ve he decides that one of the boys should to follow him to prove that he doesn’t go up to heaven to talk with God. When Reuven the skeptic sees him disguise himself as a woodcutter and bring wood for a bedridden widow, he realizes that one’s actions can actually bring you ”even higher” than heaven.

Even Higher is a wonderful story for Rosh Hashanah about the power of human actions and can be a fantastic conversation starter about the value of Tzedakah (charity). Rarely do we get such a wonderful portrait of charity being given without hope of recognition.

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The Secret Shofar of Barcelona

A lovely new addition to the world of Rosh Hashanah books is The Secret Shofar of Barcelonaby Jacqueline Dembar Greene (yes, author of the new Jewish American Girl Doll series).

The Secret Shofar of Barcelona

The Secret Shofar of Barcelona

Set during the late 16th century, The Secret Shofar of Barcelona tells the story of Don Fernando Aguilar, the conductor of the Royal Orchestra of Barcelona. A converso, Don Fernando has written a piece of music for the Duke that is set to debut on the night of Rosh Hashanah and plans to have a Rosh Hashanah dinner with other Jewish families on open night, disguised as a celebratory dinner for opening night.

His son Rafael however, has a better idea — an idea that will allow the Jews of Barcelona to hear the shofar in plain sight. But, as you might expect, it’s a dangerous plan, and one that a young boy might be the only person brave enough to do.

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Rosh Hashanah — A New Start

So, I fell off the blogging wagon. But, we’re coming up on a new year so instead of feeling lousy, I’m going to jump back in with a delightful new Rosh Hashanah title that I know you will enjoy.

Today Is The Birthday of the World

Today Is The Birthday of the World

Today Is The Birthday of the World by Linda Heller is the type of book that is just so nice to hold in your hand. It’s just all round dreamy — from the delightful illustrations to even the slightly heavier paper. The words are soft and the story so easy to read — it reminds me of Mem Fox’s Time For Bed in the way that it just flows so nicely. It’s a nice quiet story perfect for a hushed voice.

Sigh. It’s a nice book to get me back in the mood for blogging.

Want some other Rosh Hashanah options? Check out last year’s ideas.

Just a quick side note: the theme of this book is what does it mean to be the best that you can be. While the book is a great read for young kids, it will certainly prompt older kids into an interesting discussion of the values of Rosh Hashanah: what does it mean to be the best that you can be?

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