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.