Har­vest of Light

Alli­son Ofanan­sky; Eliyahu Alpern, pho­tog­ra­ph­er
  • Review
By – January 16, 2012
Nar­rat­ed by a young Israeli child, this beau­ti­ful­ly pho­tographed book gives a graph­ic word and visu­al descrip­tion of how an Israeli olive crop is processed. The book serves as a guide to the Jew­ish hol­i­days by com­par­ing those hol­i­days to the changes in the olives’ col­ors. Start­ing with the spring blos­som­ing of the olive trees, we are then shown the first green olives that arrive in the fall. If you are unin­formed about olives, you will be sur­prised to learn that the first olives are only edi­ble after they are pick­led in salt water. The book guides us through Sukkot with the accom­pa­ny­ing col­or change of the olives from green to pur­ple. By Hanukkah, most of the olives are black and are emit­ting sig­nif­i­cant amounts of oil. The olives are now removed from the trees and tak­en to the oil press, where we see the gold­en oil that is pro­duced. Since many Israeli hanukki­ahs have wicks rather than can­dles, oil is their fuel. Not only do we get an edu­ca­tion­al tour of how olives are processed, but we also see the engag­ing pic­tures of the fam­i­ly who is doing much of the work. The family’s love of each oth­er is insep­a­ra­ble from its love of the olive­grow­ing busi­ness. This book, which cli­max­es in the light­ing of the Hanukkah meno­rah, will make an atyp­i­cal and wel­come addi­tion to the tra­di­tion­al sto­ry of the Mac­cabees. For ages 4 – 8.
Marge Kaplan is a retired Eng­lish as a Sec­ond Lan­guage teacher. She is a con­sul­tant for the children’s lit­er­a­ture group for the Roseville, MN school sys­tem and is a sto­ry­teller of Jew­ish tales.

Discussion Questions