Book Recommendation: Family Midrash Says Daniel

We’re currently reading The Family Midrash Says The Book of Daniel by Rabbi Moshe Weissman. My seven year old son loves this book and keeps asking me to read more. It’s a great introduction to the Babylonian exile, which will lead nicely into the story of Purim — coming up sooner than we think.

Several years ago, I did the same thing with my daughters. We read this book around this time of the year, and then delved in depth into the story of Purim. Disclaimer: we didn’t finish the Book of Daniel with them. They liked the action, but then, later on, it got more into prophecies of the four kingdoms, and my kids got bored.

Book list for Purim coming up soon, G-d willing!

Book recommendation: Good Shabbos: The 39 Melachos Illustrated

If you’re teaching or learning about the 39 categories of work forbidden on Shabbos, pictures always help. The book Good Shabbos / The 39 Melachos Illustrated with Photographs contains large color photographs, featuring children, illustrating each melacha. Kids love looking at pictures in this book.

Of course, there is also the classic The 39 Avoth Melacha of Shabbath, very much loved by my whole family. But it always helps to have a fresh perspective.

Meet the author: Yaffa Ganz

Yaffa Ganz has inspired and entertained generations of Jewish children, imbuing her readers with genuine Jewish values. I asked Mrs. Ganz to tell us a little bit about herself and her work.

Born and bred in a warm, loving, Zionistic community in Chicago, we made aliya in 1964 with our two little boys. We went to a rural area in the south of Israel where my husband was a rav in the yeshiva. We later moved to Jerusalem for the next thirty-five years and now live in Maaleh Adumim – a new, mini-city outside Jerusalem. Our kids, grandchildren and great-grandkids are all, Baruch Hashem, in close proximity within the borders of Eretz Yisrael.
Although most people are familiar with the name Yaffa Ganz because of Savta Simcha, Mimmy-Simmy, Dr. Mitzva or Jeremy Levi(many of my characters are more famous than I am!), I’ve also written several books for adult readers. They’re humorous, easy reading while touching upon serious subjects (Cinnamon and Myrrh, A Different Dimension, All Things Considered).
One young reader book I myself love and use all the time is The Jewish Fact Finder. This is not a book to “read”. It’s a wonderfully designed book of lists to help you find whatever information you need – facts, names, dates, numbers. Even teachers use it! A second title I’m very proud of is a two volume book of Jewish history for young readers – “Sand and Stars”. It’s a great, swooping, inspiring read across the panorama of Jewish history and in my opinion, it’s a valuable educational tool.
You can see all of the above on the internet. Many of the books have been translated into Hebrew (which is a good thing because none of my grandchildren will read the English, even if their bubby is a “famous” author!).
But the thing that interests me most and warms the cockles of my heart is my most recent project … a book of poetry called Wheat, Wine and Honey. It’s a collection of poems on just about everything… Torah and prayers; the amazing world we live in, the unique place called Eretz Yisrael, people and their foibles (including me, myself and I), and lots of just plain funny whimsy. There’s even a section of poetry for kids which is nothing like your regular “roses are red; violets are blue”!
It was a work of love that I added to over the years but never thought I‘d publish. And indeed! No publisher would take it, not even from a well known author, because “people don’t buy poetry”. So I published it myself and guess what? Some people do buy poetry. And if they don’t, I’ll still be left with a stack of lovely gift books to give to dear friends! If you’d like to see it, it’s available in paperback on Amazon. Wheat, Wine and Honey. Hardcover has to be ordered directly from me.
A word to all potential authors and other creative people … never take “no” for an answer. If something is important enough to you, go out there and try to do it yourself!

Book list for Sefer Shemos (Book of Exodus)

In less than two weeks we’ll begin Sefer Shemos. Since they were young my children have always loved the story of Moshe Rabbeinu and his siblings, the Ten Plagues, and the Exodus from Egypt. There are many good books on Sefer Shemos, for all ages and reading preferences. I’ve added comments and age recommendations, as well as several newer titles, to the book list. Here’s the updated Shemos book list.

Speaking of lists, I noticed that I have very few titles for the next book, Vayikra. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know! I’d really appreciate it.

Hope you enjoy the books!