Wednesday, December 2, 2015


            By J.G. Annino
            I’m in research mode for an article a Holocaust
educator asked me to write in promotion of a great January
2016 event in our town, involving the story of Anne Frank.

            And so I’ve found a treasure of new books/books new to me
on several Jewish topics, which I feel privileged to know.

            I’m happy to share some of the picture books. They aren’t
about the Holocaust, but have titles such as HANUKKAH BEAR.

            Researching the piece this week creates a harmonic convergence.

            When I approach the commemoration of the U.S. entry into
the Allies’ fight against the Axis in WWII (Monday Dec. 7
is Pearl Harbor Day) I smile about my wonderful parents’ roles
in WWII.

            My father volunteered for WWII as a drill sergeant.  My mother,
still single & who hadn’t met Dad yet,  helped on the home front in
several ways, including as Victory Garden Editor for her newspaper.

            Then I find as I interview people about this Anne Frank event, I am
joyfully wishing them bright Hanukkah lights. This year, the holiday
begins this Sunday, Dec. 6.
            So I briefly present bright titles that may make good gifts, in this
month of giving.  And they would be good to borrow from your library.

Jim Aylesworth/Barbara McClintock

 This is a family story that celebrates love, resourcefulness & men who sew. It will
also appeal to rhymers & readers of rhymes. It is a deft retelling of a treasured old
Yiddish tale. The ilustrations are joyful and layered with great details.

Linda Heller/ Boris Kulikov

The grandfather spins wild tales about immigration to America.
And the grandmother keeps things more realistic. It’s like a dueling story,
page to page. Meet up with Moishe, a singing goat & of course, that castle.
It's also a retelling.

Jane Yolen/Jim Burke

A Russian family emigrates through Ellis Island, sending son Shmuel on ahead to secure a job. They follow with the daughter, Gitl. In Jane Yolen’s lyrical language, this is a story rich in well-researched historical scene-setting, made doubly vivid with the Jim Burke art.

Eric Kimmel/Mike Wahnovtka

Grandma bakes latkes for the rabbi, but guess who’s coming to dinner, instead?
A delightful remake of a 1990 story (THE CHANUKAH GUEST.)

Elka Weber/Elisa Kleven

Young Leora helps her father keep a wayward chicken in their yard comfy, so it can later 
be reunited with the unknown owner. This retelling of a lovely tale of honesty, is inspired by Deuteronomy, chapter 22, verses 1-3. It highlights the rabbinical teaching that  “finders isn’t keepers.”

(On a personal note, I was thrilled to read at the illustrator’s blog that Elsa Kleven’s mother, Lorraine Art Schneider, created “Primer, the iconic “War is not healthy for children and other living things” miniature art known around the world. I have kept a copy of this close to me for decades.)

 Carla Heymsfeld/ Vlad Guzner

Float along with Freida’s relatives, as she has fun in the kitchen.
A silly out-of-print romp.

              I hope your December is filled with joy & more giving of thanks.


  1. Very timely indeed, Jan. Thank you for this great list!

  2. And appreciations to you for all the book titles & informative thoughts you provide here,
    dear Kathy.

    Thanks to everyone for Group Blog.

  3. I absolutely love Grandfather's Coat. Now I have a bunch of books to read I've never seen before. Thanks for the post.

  4. Rosi, it's so enjoyable to share lovely titles. Thanks for visiting Group Blog.