Modern Jewish history lives through the moving voice of one participant.

YOSEF'S DREAM

A dream to return to their Jewish homeland becomes a reality for Ethiopian Jews.

As the narrator watches his brother become a bar mitzvah at Jerusalem’s Western Wall, he remembers his childhood in Ethiopia and the journey to their homeland, Israel. For generations, Yosef tells readers, Jews in Ethiopia believed that they “were the only Jews left in the world!” In his reminiscence, Yosef leaves his mother and sister to take food to his father and brother working in their fields before heading to school. He falls into a deep hole and cannot climb out. In a folkloric turn, Gazelle comes to him in a dream and promises him mountaintop visions of “far-off places.” Hyena then promises meals “of the scraps of others.” Finally, Eagle swoops down and promises him a flight to a new home. When he finally arrives at school, an Israeli official announces that they “can return to the land God gave to the Jews.” Preparations are made, and Yosef’s family boards the eagle, as foretold in Isaiah (40:31)—only now it is an airplane. An author’s note informs readers that in 1991, co-author Naim, the Israeli ambassador to Ethiopia, did in fact organize Operation Solomon, bringing home thousands of Ethiopian Jews. Blumenfeld’s colorful illustrations give the dark-skinned people and the animals personality and set the location memorably.

Modern Jewish history lives through the moving voice of one participant. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-68115-506-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2016

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A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

ZARA'S RULES FOR RECORD-BREAKING FUN

From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Haunting and beautiful.

LILAH TOV GOOD NIGHT

As the sun sets and the moon rises, an unnamed young child says good night to everything in the natural landscape.

In the simple, brief, descriptive text the child calls out, “Lilah Tov,” to hens and roosters, bears and bats, beaches and waves, clouds and stars, fish and birds, mountains and streams. There is no other narrative, at least not in words. Naggan’s lush, detailed, soft-edged landscapes provide another, deeper, and more nuanced level to the proceedings. “Lilah tov” means “good night” in Hebrew, and there is a menorah on the windowsill, indicating that this family is Jewish. By dress and household appearance, they seem to be living in the late 19th or early 20th century. After a simple meal, they pack their belongings and leave their small rural home. The protagonist is saying good night to the creatures and places spotted on what readers will see as a lengthy journey. Beneath a full moon a man rows them across a body of water, and the journey continues on the other side. At the end of their travels there is a new home awaiting them. They travel quietly and surreptitiously, but there is no explanation within the text of where they are and why they leave. Are they refugees escaping something dreadful? Each young reader will interpret the work differently depending on individual understanding and knowledge of history, or perhaps with a wise adult to help.

Haunting and beautiful. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-4066-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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