Book recommendation: Dual Discovery

Mazel tov! This blog is now a year old. Thank you to all my readers for your feedback and encouragement!

Last year, I posted about Dual Discovery. Since, thank G-d, we have many more subscribers now, I am going to repost it. And even if you read it last year — this is the kind of book you can read over and over again.

Book recommendation: Dual Discovery

New release: The Mosaica Haggadah by Rabbi Sender Haber

The Mosaica Haggadah just came out, in time for Pesach, and it looks interesting. I haven’t seen the actual book yet, but here’s the description from Mosaica Press:

“Why is this Haggadah different from all other Haggadahs?
Join Rabbi Sender and Chamie Haber and their charming family at their Pesach Seder – and experience this special night with this most special educational Haggadah.

Unique features include:
Real questions and insightful comments of dozens of bright and engaging students
Fascinating and meaningful short explanations by a world-class educator
Yocheved Nadell’s delightful contemporary illustrations
Laminated pages to allow for easy use at the Seder table for many years
Year after year, Jews of all affiliations celebrate the Passover Seder surrounded by loved ones. Indeed, handing down the story of our people each year at the Pesach Seder transcends generations.

Rabbi Sender and Chamie’s Passover Seders are known far and wide for being entertaining, interesting and unforgettable. The Mosaica Haggadah will inspire your family like never before.”

Book recommendation: Locked in Time by M. C. Millman

We recently read Locked in Time with my seven year old son, and he loved it. It’s a fast-paced mystery involving a long lost treasure, but it also revolves around the sale of chametz and conveys the seriousness of the transaction. It’s a fun pre-Pesach read.

Book recommendation: Just a Week to Go by Yeshara Gold

Just a Week to Go: One Boy’s Pesach Preparations in Jerusalem’s Old City by Yeshara Gold is one of my favorite Pesach books for the younger children. It’s a classic, published thirty years ago. The book follows a five year old boy as he and his family get ready for Pesach and includes real photographs taken in the Old City of Jerusalem. I love how the book builds up excitement about the upcoming holiday while teaching about its meaning and customs.

There is another book about the same boy and his family, which is about preparing for Shabbos — Hurry, Friday’s a short day: One boy’s Erev Shabbat in Jerusalem’s Old City. My family enjoys it too.

Pesach book list!

Hope everyone had a nice Purim. In my family, we’ve begun learning about Pesach. If you’re looking for good books for your family, or for nice children’s haggados to use at the Seder, this Pesach book list has something for all tastes and ages. Happy learning (and cleaning :))!

Book recommendation: Purim and the Persian Empire

We spent some time this morning looking at the book Purim and the Persian Empire by Rabbi Yehuda Landy. It puts Megillas Esther into its historical context, both according to Jewish tradition and according to secular history. Our favorite part of the book are the pictures — what Achashveirosh’s palace looked like, what kind of dishes Persian nobility ate from, the view of present day Shushan and the location of the palace. The book is fascinating. It’s not a children’s book, but even younger children can appreciate the pictures.

Have a joyous month of Adar!

Purim book list

With Purim less than a month away, we’re getting into the mood. Here’s the updated Purim book list. Enjoy!

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!