Children, General Interest
At the Synagogue by Dia L. Michels (Platypus Media, cloth, $16.95) is part of this publisher’s “Look What I See! Where Can I Be?” series for young children. Big, colorful photos and minimal text lead us through Jewish holidays and lifecycle events through the eyes of a young toddler.
Walking the Bible: An Illustrated Journey for Kids by Bruce Feiler (HarperCollins, cloth, $16.99) is a much shorter version of his bestseller for adults. Appropriate for older elementary school and middle school kids, illustrated with line drawings and black and white photos, it’s a great mini-travelogue.
Baby Babka, the Gorgeous Genius by Jane Breskin Zalbin, (Clarion, cloth, $15) the well-known author of more than 50 cookbooks and books for young people deals with an older sister’s jealousy of a newborn baby brother. Members of the family band together to help sis get over her crabbiness.
The Seven Species: Stories and Recipes Inspired by the Foods of the Bible by Matt Biers-Ariel (UAHC Press, cloth, $19.95) is really for the whole family, rather than just for kids. It is both a reference book and a cookbook. Each biblical food is represented with a story from traditional or contemporary sources, a recipe and facts—did you know, for instance, that date palms must be pollinated by hand?
The Dolphin Project by E.R. Emmer (Four Corners, paper, $6.95) is part of this publisher’s “Going To:” series for older kids, adventure stories set around the world. In this one, Talia Reimer visits her best friend in Jerusalem and get involved in mysterious circumstances involving ancient artifacts and dolphins.
The Shabbat Angels by Joani Keller Rothenberg (UAHC Press, cloth) is derived from a Talmudic tale of two Shabbat angels, one good and one bad, who follow us home from synagogue each week.
Apples and Pomegranates: A Family Seder for Rosh Hashanah by Rahel Musleah (Kar-Ben, paper, $7.95). Can’t get enough of Passover? Then add a seder to your Rosh Hashanah festivities. Just as we learn the Passover story gathered around food, Musleah proposes much the same idea for the Jewish New Year. There are different sections organized around food. Each one has a blessing in Hebrew and English, a story and an activity.
Lots of Latkes by Sandy Lanton (Kar-Ben, paper, $6.95). It’s hard to miss with a Kar-Ben picture book, reasonably priced, colorful and entertaining. In this folk-style tale, a group of old friends is invited to a Hanukkah potluck on a snowy day in the old country.
The Purim Surprise by Leslie Simpson (Kar-Ben, paper, $6.95) brings us to contemporary times with a story of a little girl who is very sad. She and her single mother have just moved to a new city and her mother—who seems more interested in preparing shaloch manos (Purim treats) for the new neighbors—seems to have forgotten the little girl’s birthday, which falls on Purim day.
The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story by Leone Adelson (Clarion, cloth, $15). Who is in the little bear costume at the Purim party? He eats so much then falls asleep, and won’t wake up for the Purim play.
In Our Own Voices: A Guide to Conducting Life History Interviews with American Jewish Women is a workbook from the Jewish Women’s Archive in Brookline, Mass. (www.jwa.org), that furthers their mission “to uncover, chronicle, and transmit the rich legacy of Jewish women.” Their goal is to get you to do the same for yourself or for your family by ferreting out the personal details of women’s daily lives that are often overlooked in the formal telling of history. The Seattle area is well represented, with narratives from Ruth Frankel, Esther Eggleston, Bernice Rind, Dorothy Muscatel, Louise Azose, Carolyn Schaloum, Cecilia Etkin, Missode Piha and Molly Cone.
Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety (Riverhead, cloth, $23.95) by Judith Warner. Journalist and best-selling author of Hillary Clinton: The Inside Story, Warner returned to Washington, D.C. from living in Paris and says she found her contemporaries—other mothers of young children—living lives “of quiet desperation,” either racked with guilt as working mothers or torn with doubt as stay-at-home moms. She examines what has changed about parenting in this country to make it so difficult and compares the U.S. with other countries, particularly France.
Kabbalah (Doubleday, paper, $9.95) by Arthur Goldwag, is part of a new series by this publisher created in partnership with Beliefnet, a religion and spirituality Web site. If you have ever found yourself at a loss for words when asked, particularly by a non-Jewish person, to explain Kabbalah (or, even worse, when you are automatically expected to know and understand Kabbalah just by virtue of being Jewish), this little book will make you an instant expert with concise and clear explanations of the history and components of this collection of Jewish mystical teachings.
Jewish with Feeling (Riverhead, cloth,$23.95) is the latest from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, the spiritual leader of the Jewish Renewal movement. Subtitled A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Practice, Schachter-Shalomi strips a number of Jewish concepts and practices down to their basics, taking them apart for close examination, but at the same time using the most basic language of explanation. He tackles, God, God talk, the Sabbath and mitzvot, along with “A New Kind of Kosher” (environmentalism) and the question of “Why Be Jewish?” Very accessible, and may even be appropriate for teens. The author doesn’t shy away from difficult questions.
Also of interest:
The Art of Amazement: Judaism’s Forgotten Spirituality by Rabbi Alexander Seinfeld (Tarcher/Penguin, paper, $15.95). Exercises based on “the ancient Jewish spiritual arts” to help you better appreciate life.
Nigun Anthology: A Collection of Soulful Jewish Melodies (URJ, paper, $34.95 for book and CD or $16.95 for just the CD). A songbook with CD of nigunim, mostly wordless melodies that help focus worshipers toward prayer.
Shir Hashirim: A Modern Commentary on the Song of Songs, translation and commentary by Leonard Kravitz and Kerry Olitzky.