I SAY SHEHECHIYANU

A little girl experiences a year of joyous events and traditions.     

The Hebrew word “shehechiyanu” is a special blessing for a new experience or one that reoccurs after a long period of time. Beginning with the Jewish New Year in autumn, this happy child savors the special foods of Rosh Hashanah, as well as a new school year, a new baby brother and a meal in the sukkah. In winter, she blesses her baby brother’s first tooth, a beautiful full moon and the cozy warmth of her home as she spins the dreidel, lights a Hanukkah candle and welcomes guests for Shabbat dinner. Spring and summer bring returning birds, flower buds, a Purim costume, matzo at Passover and new accomplishments. Her little brother’s rites of passage as he says her name, takes his first step toward her and reaches his first birthday are even more deserving of blessings. This unnamed girl is warmhearted, generous and utterly charming as she embraces every moment and sees goodness and joy all around her, all expressed, with great enthusiasm, in simply stated declarative sentences. Filipina’s lovely, warmly hued illustrations beautifully complement and greatly enhance the text with detailed depictions of all the happy events. Readers not familiar with the traditions may wish there were a glossary or parenthetical pronunciation guide, though.

A sweet year for all. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: March 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4677-3467-7

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2014

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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

IN MY MOSQUE

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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