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Pict Bk of Jewish Holidays

Get Ready for Rosh Hashanah!

A Picture Book of Jewish Holidays

By David A. Adler; illustrated by Linda Heller


In my search for a great book to help young readers of the Jewish faith usher in the New Year and the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, I stumbled quite by accident on Cam Jansen too. Huh? Let me explain. David Adler, author of the graduate-to-chapter-book mystery series, starring the stalwart heroine, Cam Jansen, previously wrote a fantastic picture book to guide your young reader thoughtfully through all the Jewish holidays. I love his opening intro.


This is not a book of facts but of feelings. It’s filled with the warmth of the Sabbath, the solemnity of Yom Kippur, the wonder of Hanukkah, the joy of Purim, the awe of Shavuot, and more. It’s filled with the love Jewish people have for their traditions and holidays.


To set things in perspective, Ms. Heller provides a beautiful rendering of the Jewish calendar, based on the moon and used for the last 5,000 years. Young readers can easily see where each of the holidays falls in the lunar calendar and the month into which it falls. The holidays are celebrated on the same dates each year. BUT the dates on the newer Julian calendar based on the sun, change from year to year. The calendars are shown together so a child may understand the difference.

The drawings by Ms. Heller are simple, but beautiful. For instance, the ones for Rosh Hashanah depict the book where our good deeds are written and also those where we need a little more work. And of course, there is a lovely rendering of the blowing of the ram’s horn or “shofar” that in the words of Mr. Adler, “remind us to obey God’s laws and be good to others.”

On the world scene today, religion can be a cause of much conflict, but in the simple world of Mr. Adler’s “A Picture Book of Jewish Holidays”, we see reflected the honest and human sentiment of the real desire to be close to the divine and to continue to seek it out in those with whom we come in contact. Young readers of all faiths may benefit from insights into the beliefs of faiths other than their own, and what they share in common. Here’s a book that provides that opportunity. “Shanah Tovah” or Have a good year!

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