When I first opened My Prayers: A Jewish Child’s Book of Prayers for Every Day I was surprised. I expected to see traditional prayers for everyday activities in a child’s life. What I got was something different and much better. The authors, both rabbis, created a list of important events in the daily life of a child such as going to sleep, celebrating birthdays, being afraid, moving, and many more; then they composed a comforting passage for each topic. In My Prayer About My New Home, for example, the child says, “…I will miss my old house and my old neighborhood. I will remember my friends and I hope to see them again soon. In my new house it will be fun to find new games to play… I will make new friends… Thank You, God, for old places and for new places.” Every prayer ends with the Sh’ma.
The topics include a balance of happy events (rainbows, a wonderful day, Shabbat) and sad or scary ones (storms, being sick, the death of a pet) and each ends with a comforting statement thanking God. The illustrations are simple and the pictures of the children accurately reflect the mood for each prayer. This is a wonderful book to share with a young child. Recommended for toddlers through age eight.
Marcia Berneger is a retired teacher who lives with her husband and three crazy dogs. She taught both first and second grade, as well as special education. She currently teaches Torah school, in addition to her volunteer work in classrooms, libraries, and with various fundraisers. She lives in San Diego.