A Hat for Mrs. Goldman

Michelle Edwards; G. Bri­an Karas, illus.

  • Review
By – September 20, 2016

Children’s books about doing a mitz­vah rarely tug at the heart­strings of the adults read­ing them aloud, but Nation­al Jew­ish Book Award win­ner Michelle Edwards’s new sto­ry stirs up warm feel­ings for read­ers of all ages.

A Hat for Mrs. Gold­man: A Sto­ry About Knit­ting and Love is about a friend­ship between a young girl from a Mex­i­can Amer­i­can fam­i­ly named Sophia and her neigh­bor, the epony­mous old­er Jew­ish woman who knits hats for new­borns, chil­dren, and adults in their com­mu­ni­ty. Keep­ing kep­pies warm is our mitz­vah,” Mrs. Gold­man tells Sophia, and a mitz­vah is a good deed.”

Sophia makes pom-poms for Mrs. Goldman’s hats and accom­pa­nies her on walks with Mrs. Goldman’s besweatered dog, Fifi. But as the weath­er turns cold, Sophie begins to wor­ry: Mrs. Gold­man doesn’t have a hat of her own! Mrs. Goldman’s kep­pie must be very cold,” Sophia frets, and decides to knit her neigh­bor a hat her­self — but when she final­ly casts off, Sophia’s hat for Mrs. Gold­man is full of lumps and bumps and holes!

You can guess how the sto­ry ends, but Edwards adds a cou­ple unex­pect­ed, ten­der details to the story’s res­o­lu­tion that adults, too, will find touch­ing. The book includes knit­ting instruc­tions for mak­ing a hat and pom-poms just like Sophia’s, and love­ly illus­tra­tions by G. Bri­an Karas.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 8.

Nat Bern­stein is the for­mer Man­ag­er of Dig­i­tal Con­tent & Media, JBC Net­work Coor­di­na­tor, and Con­tribut­ing Edi­tor at the Jew­ish Book Coun­cil and a grad­u­ate of Hamp­shire College.

Discussion Questions