Master storyteller David Adler has taken on the Jewish subject of tzedakah (charity) with grace and humor. A young girl, Sara, watches out the window as her mother leaves for work each morning. As she waves to her mother, she notices an old man taking a bruised apple from a box of unsellable merchandise left by the fruit man, Sol. Her Grandma explains that the man is probably hungry. As the story progresses, Sara enlists her family and classmates in providing food for the man. As Hanukkah approaches, sandwiches and fruit give way to latkes and Hanukkah cookies with sprinkles. When they meet the man at Friday night services, they invite him for Shabbat dinner and learn that he formerly worked in a circus. At dinner, he amazes Sara and her family with his juggling performance and promises to teach Sara how to juggle.
This is a warm story, highly recommended for ages 4 – 7 and perfect for use in preschool and early elementary settings. In addition to discussions of tzedakah, it can spark conversations about what constitutes a family, since Sara lives with her mother and grandmother.
Sandy Lanton, a former teacher, earned a BA in Psychology and an MS in Early Childhood Education from Queens College. She is the author of Daddy’s Chair (Sydney Taylor Award), The Happy Hackers, Lots Of Latkes, Still a Family: A Young Child’s Book About Divorce (Gittle Honorable Mention), and The Littlest Levine (named one of the best Jewish Children’s Books of 2014 by Tablet Magazine). Her work has appeared in magazines as well as several anthologies. When she isn’t writing stories or visiting schools, Ms. Lanton likes to crochet, line dance, play bridge and pickleball, spend time with her grandchildren, and read, read, read.