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.