Sharon Elswit, author of The Jewish Story Finder, now resides in San Francisco, where she has been helping students visiting 826 Valencia locations around the city to write stories and poems and getting adults up and retelling Jewish folktales to share with their own spin.
Fluid and inviting, Ganeri’s Jewish Stories is one of six picture books that acquaint readers with different world religions through stories of leaders and events important to them. This title was originally published in England in 2001. To present Judaism, Ganeri has chosen eight Biblical tales — creation, Joseph and his brothers, three selections about Moses, David and Goliath, Esther, and Judah Maccabee — and one Hasidic tale of courage and hope by Professor Yaffa Eliach, set in the concentration camp of Bergen Belsen. Large watercolor illustrations surround the text and fill the pages with action. “Did you know?” insets provide background on rituals and history. These boxes are often illustrated with colorful photographs from modern times. Of course, this book cannot tell everything, but going the story route, it succeeds as a child-friendly introduction to some Jewish heroes, holidays, and customs, simple, without distorting the faith. Jewish Stories is intended for general public and school library shelves, but may prove useful in synagogue and day school libraries where additional copies of Bible stories are needed. With reinforced binding, a simple glossary, index, and a general world religions bibliography. Ages 7 – 10.
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