While those who attend Jewish services will likely find this the most attention-grabbing, this is still pertinent to readers...

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TORAH SCROLL

Learn the many specific steps necessary to create a Torah.

The Torah is “the holiest text of the Jewish people.” The words written on the Torah scroll are commandments for living and stories of creation. They have been preserved and revered for countless generations. In this copiously illustrated book, the author and photographer provide step-by-step directions for making a Torah scroll, from preparing the parchment and ink to writing the words and decorating covers. Ofanansky frequently engages readers in the process by asking questions such as “What tradition do YOU like to keep” and also includes interactive features, such as matching the correct answers in columns. There are many factoids, as in “304,805 / The number of letters in a Torah scroll,” as well as quotations from those engaged in the process. Readers can also learn how to make a yad, or pointer, used when reading from the text. There is a strong sense of community and modernity as men and women and girls and boys all work together for this very special creation.

While those who attend Jewish services will likely find this the most attention-grabbing, this is still pertinent to readers interested in religious studies. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68115-516-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family.

THE LANGUAGE OF ANGELS

A STORY ABOUT THE REINVENTION OF HEBREW

The ancient Hebrew language enters the modern world.

In 1885 Jerusalem, a young boy named Ben-Zion cannot converse with the polyglot children of his age because his father has decreed that he speak only Hebrew, “the first child in more than two thousand years” to do so. The father, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, is a Zionist immigrant to Palestine and fervently believes that Jews from every country, speaking so many different languages, should return to the language of their ancestors and of Jewish Scripture. Ben-Zion is not popular in the neighborhood; some consider Hebrew a holy tongue to be used only in prayer. The father persists and finds that he needs to invent words to modernize the ancient language. Thus, by combining the Hebrew words for “wheel” and for “a pair of” he creates a word for bicycle. Ben-Yehuda’s work leads to a network of schools, a dictionary, and the eventual designation of Hebrew in 1948 as the national language of Israel. Michelson’s account, based on history, is presented as a story with invented dialogue, which he addresses in his author’s note. Gudeon’s digitized watercolor illustrations, full of children, are lively and feature Hebrew words and letters as part of the page design.

A lively introduction to the work of a Hebrew language scholar and lover—and his family. (afterword, further reading) (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 21, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-636-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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More homily than history—and bland to boot.

THE LIFE OF MARTIN LUTHER

A POP-UP BOOK

A pop-up introduction to the great Christian reformer.

In Traini’s seven compositionally similar tableaux, simply drawn cartoon figures—all white until a diverse mix of worshipers from the past and present gathers at the end—pop up to look on wide-eyed, along with lots of small cute forest creatures, at select incidents in Luther’s career. As a disclaimer has it, the uncredited and decidedly sketchy narrative is the “popular” version: after being caught in a storm that prompts him to promise God to become a monk if he survives (according to his own account, he appealed to St. Anne), Martin goes on to discover in the Bible “the very good news that we are saved by faith!” Following his 95 theses (totally unexplained) and refusal to recant before the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire, he is temporarily kidnapped for his own safety, later produces a German Bible and other writings, and inspires “a reformation of the church” that is still ongoing so long as “we read the Bible, listen to the Holy Spirit, and follow Jesus in faith.” Readers interested in specific dates, biographical details, or even a general picture of Luther’s times will have to look elsewhere.

More homily than history—and bland to boot. (Informational pop-up picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5064-2192-6

Page Count: 14

Publisher: Sparkhouse

Review Posted Online: March 15, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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