Joe’s Mar­ket: A Sto­ry About How One Man Changed His Community

Ilana Dan­ne­man; Debra Sifen, illus.

  • Review
By – May 1, 2018

With only a dime in his pock­et, Isidore Siro­ta, an immi­grant known as Joe the Jew,” moved to Atlanta and opened a gro­cery store. Joe didn’t only sell food in his store; he also cre­at­ed a com­mu­ni­ty. Through acts of char­i­ty, like bail­ing one cus­tomer out of jail and sav­ing anoth­er from evic­tion, Joe became a beloved mem­ber of the neigh­bor­hood. Told from his granddaughter’s per­spec­tive, Joe’s Mar­ket is writ­ten with love, every word penned with affec­tion and respect.

Debra Sifen’s com­ic-like illus­tra­tions are endear­ing. The smil­ing char­ac­ters and detailed gro­ceries enliv­en the sto­ry. Includ­ed in the book are a recipe for chick­en soup and a pho­to of Joe the Jew.

Although this book could have used a tighter proof­read, it is a sweet biog­ra­phy that may encour­age chil­dren ages 4 to 8 to explore their own fam­i­ly histories.

Paula Chaiken has worked in a vari­ety of capac­i­ties in the Jew­ish world — teach­ing in reli­gious school, curat­ing at the Sper­tus Muse­um and fundrais­ing for the Fed­er­a­tion — for more than twen­ty years. She also runs a bou­tique pub­lic rela­tions con­sult­ing firm and enjoys read­ing all sorts of books with her three sons.

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