Children’s

Shang­hai Sukkah

Hei­di Smith Hyde; Jing Jing Tsong, illus.
  • Review
December 1, 2015

Okay, I admit it, I was pre­dis­posed to love this pic­ture book, because I love Sukkot. I am also a big his­to­ry buff — and the fas­ci­nat­ing his­to­ry that informs the set­ting of this book is not wide­ly known, cer­tain­ly not to kids. 

Shang­hai Sukkah fol­lows ten-year-old Mar­cus, whose fam­i­ly fled Nazi per­se­cu­tion in World War II Berlin to reset­tle in Shang­hai, one of the few places where Jews are still wel­come. Mar­cus won­ders if he will ever feel at home in this strange place, and as Sukkot comes around, he also despairs of build­ing a prop­er sukkah. His new friend Liang dis­tracts him with an invi­ta­tion to come cel­e­brate the Chi­nese Moon Fes­ti­val — also a har­vest hol­i­day. After­ward Liang sur­pris­es Mar­cus by provid­ing the per­fect dec­o­ra­tions for his Shang­hai sukkah.

Rich, per­fect­ly suit­ed illus­tra­tions enhance this gem of a sto­ry of friend­ship and mutu­al cul­tur­al respect. An author’s note at the back, includ­ing pho­tos, fills in the his­tor­i­cal con­text. High­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – 9.

Discussion Questions