Here Is the World: A Year of Jew­ish Holidays

Lesléa New­man; Susan Gal, illus.
  • Review
By – March 30, 2015

Lesléa New­man, for­mer poet lau­re­ate of Northamp­ton, MA, applies her lyri­cal tal­ents to present a jour­ney through­out the Jew­ish year. She begins with an intro­duc­tion and then fol­lows with indi­vid­ual sec­tions: nam­ing cer­e­mo­ny, Shab­bat, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kip­pur, Sukkot, Sim­chat Torah, Chanukah, Tu B’shevat, Purim, Passover, Shavuot, and back to Shab­bat. The book con­cludes with descrip­tions of each of the hol­i­days and a series of crafts and recipes. Newman’s prose is rhyth­mic through rep­e­ti­tion and sim­plic­i­ty. Susan Gal’s vibrant and sea­son­al­ly-charged illus­tra­tions give chil­dren a vari­ety of peo­ple and objects to stim­u­late their interest. 

The inclu­sion of Shab­bat and the nam­ing cer­e­mo­ny go beyond the nor­mal expec­ta­tions of the typ­i­cal list of Jew­ish hol­i­days. The lay­out is prob­lem­at­ic, how­ev­er. The sec­tions are not of equal length and the place­ment of sec­tion sep­a­ra­tors bear­ing the labels of the hol­i­days can be con­fus­ing. Still, young audi­ences and read­ers will find grace on these pages and pride in their heritage. 

Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 4 – 7

Bar­bara Kras­ner is an award-win­ning poet and his­to­ri­an who focus­es her writ­ing on the Jew­ish expe­ri­ence in Amer­i­ca and dur­ing the Holo­caust. She teach­es in the his­to­ry depart­ment of The Col­lege of New Jer­sey and serves as Direc­tor, Mer­cer Holo­caust, Geno­cide & Human Rights Edu­ca­tion Center.

Discussion Questions