‘Sydney A. Frankel’s Summer Mix-up’ by Danielle Joseph, published by Kar-Ben. Middle grade novel.
When Sydney Frankel’s best friend, Maggie Stein, begs Sydney to switch summer school classes with her, it seems like a win-win for team Frankelstein. Sydney takes the reading class Maggie’s mother signed her up for — it’s Sydney’s ideal summer activity — and Maggie gets to take dance. But keeping the switch a secret isn’t so easy. This book is a sweet, insightful, and honest look into stepping outside of one’s comfort zone, embracing new experiences, and exploring how judging others can be misguided and hurtful. Family, friendship, coping with the anxiety brought on by new experiences, self-esteem, and identity are some of the important themes addressed in this delightfully written novel.
‘A Persian Passover’ by Etan Basseri, illustrated by Rashin Kheiriyeh, published by Kalaniot – Picture book
Set in Iran, this vibrant, illuminating picture book tells the story of a brother and sister who are responsible for bringing the flour to the synagogue so that it can be made into Passover matzo. The pride they feel for accomplishing this important mitzvah turns into a crisis when the matzah is broken, leaving the family without any for the seders. But the generous act saves the holiday. This outstanding Passover story includes a guide to Passover terms as well as a yummy recipe for Persian style Charoset.
Additional Passover books that I highly recommend:
“The Passover Guest” by Susan Kusel, illustrated by Sean Rubin, by published by Neal Porter Books:
Winner of the Sydney Taylor Book Award, this book will not only become a family favorite, but time will show that it will become a holiday classic. Based on I. L. Peretz’s “The Magician” this picture book is a deeply touching, beautifully written story with gorgeous illustrations.
“Pesach Guess Who? A Lift-the-Flap Book” by Ariella Stern, illustrated by Patti Argoff, published by Hachai:
From cleaning for Passover, baking matzah, setting the table and having the Seder, this is a fun and informative way for children to learn about the holiday.
“What Do You See? On Pesach” by Bracha Goetz, published by Judaica Press. Photographs highlight the holiday as a perfect introduction to Passover for toddlers.
Educator and author Liza Wiemer, of Fox Point, has taught in nine of our Milwaukee-area Jewish religious schools and day schools. Her latest novel, “The Assignment,” is appropriate for ages 12 and up.