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MEMORIES OF BABI by Aranka Siegal


by Aranka Siegal

Age Range: 8 - 10

Pub Date: June 11th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-374-39978-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

In a testament to her childhood summertime visits with her Ukrainian grandmother in the pre-World War II Carpathian Mountains, Siegal weaves several stories of country village life. The tales concern everyday homely topics, such as farming, chicken-plucking, mushroom-hunting, superstitions, cooking and the annual communal making of Lekvar, a traditional prune spread. Throughout, the sometimes foreboding, sometimes humorous and endearing vignettes weave themes encompassing the Jewish values of kindness, generosity, honesty and aid to the less fortunate. Siegal also addresses, for a wondering child, life’s certainty of death in a final piece she entitles “Yahrzeit,” after the Jewish anniversary of a loved-one’s death. Her subtle messages, couched in a readable text offering plenty of dialogue and description, provide small nuggets to contemplate and enjoy. The concept that yesterday’s good, honorable life contains meaning for today remains paramount. (recipes) (Short stories. 8-10)