Posted by Nat Bernstein
It’s rare that a children’s book about doing a mitzvah tugs at adult readers’ heartstrings, but a new story by Michelle Edwards nearly reduced me to weeping at the office this morning:
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love is about a friendship between a young girl from a Mexican American family named Sophia and her neighbor, the eponymous older Jewish woman who knits hats for newborns, children, and adults in their community. “Keeping keppies warm is our mitzvah,” Mrs. Goldman tells Sophia, “and a mitzvah is a good deed.”
Sophia makes pom-poms for Mrs. Goldman’s hats and accompanies her on walks with Mrs. Goldman’s besweatered dog, Fifi. But as the weather turns cold, Sophie begins to worry: Mrs. Goldman doesn’t have a hat of her own! “Mrs. Goldman’s keppie must be very cold,” Sophia frets, and decides to knit her neighbor a hat herself — but when she finally casts off, her hat for Mrs. Goldman is full of lumps and bumps and holes!
You can guess how the story ends, but Edwards adds a couple unexpected, tender details to the story’s resolution that adults, too, will find touching — I actually sighed aloud reading it on my own! The book includes knitting instructions for making a hat and pom-poms just like Sophia’s, and lovely illustrations by G. Brian Karas.
Nat Bernstein is the former Manager of Digital Content & Media, JBC Network Coordinator, and Contributing Editor at the Jewish Book Council and a graduate of Hampshire College.