Bit­ter and Sweet

San­dra V. Fed­er; Kyrsten Brook­er Brook­er, illus.
  • Review
By – August 7, 2018

It’s a res­o­nant Jew­ish con­cept, the mix­ing of the bit­ter and the sweet — one that abounds in Jew­ish his­to­ry and tra­di­tion: the sor­row of mov­ing from a place with a rich, sat­is­fy­ing cul­ture and slow­ly rebuild­ing it else­where; the maror at one fes­ti­val and hon­ey at anoth­er; the destruc­tion of the Tem­ple and the renew­al of the mod­ern State.

This love­ly book intro­duces chil­dren to the mean­ing of bit­ter­sweet” through the sto­ry of a young girl, Han­nah, who moves to a new neigh­bor­hood. Han­nah is reluc­tant to move; she can’t imag­ine how her new house will ever come to feel like home. She miss­es her friends, her old school, and every­thing that made her world warm and invit­ing. But a wise grand­moth­er and a new friend help her learn that with the right atti­tude, she can find sweet­ness wher­ev­er she goes.

The sto­ry is enhanced by evoca­tive, col­or­ful art, which cre­ates just the right mood to rep­re­sent Han­nah’s feel­ings. An author’s note explains the story’s Jew­ish context.

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 7.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and chil­dren’s book reviews. She has lec­tured on a vari­ety of top­ics relat­ing to chil­dren and books and her great­est joy is read­ing to her grand­chil­dren on both sides of the ocean. Michal lives in Great Neck, NY and Efrat, Israel.

Discussion Questions