Kirkus Reviews QR Code
GATHERING SPARKS by Howard Schwartz


by Howard Schwartz & illustrated by Kristina Swarner

Age Range: 4 - 6

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59643-280-2
Publisher: Roaring Brook

On a clear night a young child is told of a time spent with Grandfather learning about how and why the stars appear in the sky. For the good deeds we all must do, a star will shine—each time we plant a tree, help others, show kindness to animals—“and most of all, sparks are / gathered whenever you / love someone.” Based on the tradition of tikkun olam, or the repairing of the world, this Jewish pourquoi story is based on the myth of the Ari, from the teachings of the 16th-century Rabbi Luria, who explained the 1492 Spanish expulsion of the Jews as one of God’s blessings. The Spanish Jews were given a purpose: to gather sparks around the world with each new good deed done. The second-person free-verse text is complemented by dreamy, nature-filled mixed-media paintings in smudgy purple, blue and green hues that extend the theme that all are responsible, in whatever small way, for creating and maintaining a peaceful world. (author’s note) (Picture book/religion. 4-6)