29th March 2018
This guest blog is written by Anna from Acorn Books, a children's book blog written by a Jewish mum of two young boys. They share reviews of books they love to read together as well as activities inspired by their favourite reads.
The Jewish festival of Passover falls in the spring and celebrates the Jewish people being freed from slavery in Egypt. The story of Passover tells us that when the Jews left Egypt they left in such a hurry they didn’t have time to let their bread rise. Instead of bread they ate unleavened bread called matzah. The festival lasts for a whole week and begins with a big celebration and meal called a seder. Families spend a lot of time preparing for the festival including cleaning all traces of bread or similar foods (known as chamtez) from their houses and during the week of Passover Jews can only eat foods that are unleavened.
Is it Passover Yet
Two children happily spot the signs of spring appearing and also recognise that means Passover is nearly here. A beautiful book written in rhyme with soft, pastel illustrations. Perfect to read in the run up to Passover.
Written by Chris Barash, illustrated by Alessandro Psacharopulo and published by Albert Whitman & Company.View Book
Engineer Ari and the Passover Rush
Ari is a train driver in Israel and in the last few hours before Passover starts he finds himself racing all over the place to ensure everything is ready for the seder. He’s fast running out of time but happily meets friends on the way who offer to help with Ari promising them a box of matzah from Jerusalem on his way home. A great way to teach children all about the different items used at Passover with the added bonus of a huge shiny red steam engine!
Written by Deborah Bodin Cohen, illustrated by Shahar Kober and published by Kar-Ben Publishing.View Book
Why is matzah flat? Why do we eat it at Passover? An upbeat rhyming text and cheerful illustrations make this a perfect story to introduce very young children to the story of Passover and how it is celebrated.
Written by Tilda Balsley, illustrated by Akemi Gutierrez, published by Kar-Ben Publishing.View Book
Company's Coming: A Passover Lift-the-flap Book
Preparing for the Passover seder is a big job, there is so much to do and Jewish houses are often bustling with excitement and anticipation. Written from the point of view of a young child this is a great book to introduce and explain all the main parts of the seder.
Written by Joan Holub, illustrated by Renee Andriani and published by Puffin Books.View Book
One traditional and simple food that is often eaten during Passover is matzah brei, similar to French toast but with matzah instead of bread. In A Sweet Passover Miriam learns how to make matzah brei with her Grandpa. Beautifully sentimental with an informative message about the importance of eating matzah during Passover
Written by Lesléa Newman, illustrated by David Slonim and published by Abrams Books.View Book
Sammy Spider's First Passover
The Sammy Spider books follow a young spider who lives in the house of a Jewish family. In this book Sammy is intrigued when the family suddenly start cleaning the house from top to bottom. His mother explains that they are preparing for Passover and Sammy watches with interest, learning all the traditions and enjoying the celebrations
Written by Sylvia A. Rouss, illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn and published by Kar-Ben Publishing.View Book
Passover Scavenger Hunt
One of the highlights of the Passover seder for children is when a piece of matzah, called the afikomen, is hidden somewhere in the house. The seder can’t go on until the afikomen is eaten so the child who finds it can use it as a bargaining tool with the adults and usually end up trading it for a present. In this story, Rachel decides to make the hunt for the afikomen more fun with a treasure hunt. Lively and fun this story also teaches about lots of the other traditions of Passover in Rachel’s rhyming clues.
Written by Shanna Silva, illustrated by Miki Sakamoto and published by Kar-Ben Publishing.View Book