Posted in Book Reviews

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: Hillary Hallah Untied the Knot: Cheryl Rosenbloom Levet

I received the title in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are mine
SYNOPSIS: When Jameson and Campbell drift to sleep, they are brought to an enchanted valley where they meet characters that embody the Jewish spirit. These characters are preparing for the Jewish New Year.

Hillary Hallah’s overexuberance leads her to trouble and causes a fight amongst friends. Through Hillary’s sincere apology and her friends’ compassion, this eclectic cast learns that two wrongs do not make a right.

Throughout this entertaining narrative, children will be met with colorful illustrations, important lessons on friendship and the wonder of Rosh Hashanah.

The idea to write a children’s story about the magic of Rosh Hashanah first came to Levet while she served as part of the Training Wheels program, which taught young Jewish children about several different Jewish holidays through crafts, music and stories.

“A story about Rosh Hashanah rapidly came to me as I typed it. I always loved the story, but I wanted it worded in a more child-friendly manner, so I wrote my nieces and nephews into it and turned it into an enchanting children’s story,” the author said.

One Amazon reviewer gave high praises for the book, saying, “This adorable story tells us about the Jewish New Year and how children can reflect on their actions and the effects on others.”

“Hillary Hallah Untied the Knot” sparkles and glitters as young children begin to embrace their Jewish New Year.
MY THOUGHTS: Our author does a wonderful job explaining Rosh Hashanah. I’m pleased to see a number of new authors producing quality works that celebrate Jewish heritage. The colorful characters are sure to capture the attention of younger readers. I would recommend that this be more of a ‘together’ read so that caregivers can assist with any hard to pronounce words and/or explanations. It is definitely for the elementary set. I can see it becoming part of a regular Rosh Hashanah tradition. If you are a homeschooler looking for imaginative ways to incorporate Jewish history and/or cultures, this is a great addition to your library. I give it 3 stars.
Pic & synopsis belong solely to the author/publisher. “Hillary Hallah Untied the Knot: A Rosh Hashanah Treat You Are Bound to Repeat”
By Cheryl Rosenbloom Levet
ISBN: 9781504387668 (softcover); 9781504387675 (electronic)
Available at the Balboa Press Online Bookstore, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
About the author

Cheryl Rosenbloom Levet was born and raised in Richmond, Va and received her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina. She went on to pursue her master’s degree from Old Dominion University. Levet currently teaches first grade and has been teaching for the last 22 years. This is her first children’s book, based on her own daughter Hillary. She currently resides in Norfolk, Va.

Posted in Book Reviews, Faith

#Sponsored Book Spotlight: ALMOST A MINYAN: Lori S. Kline

“Almost a Minyan” is a coming-of-age story of a young Jewish girl who takes her grandfather’s place in their town’s prayer quorum (minyan). With gorgeous illustrations by Susan Simon, the reader joins a loving family as they deal with the grandfather’s death, and the rituals involved. Both Hebrew and Yiddish terms are used, and a glossary is included, making this a wonderful learning tool for Jews and non-Jews alike.

MY THOUGHTS: There are SO many things to love about this book. First, the story is written in a flowing rhythm much like ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’. Whether you’re reading aloud or in your head, you’ll find yourself using its fluid structure. Next, the illustrations are simply stunning. Susan Simon has captured the essence of the story with her art. They make you feel the story instead of simply reading it.

The story itself not only offers a culturally relative narrative, but also discussing the concept of grief without it going over the reader’s head. Younger readers will readily understand the sense of lose the family feels, but it’s the lesson of how they push through it that counts here. No one in the family forgets that they’re grieving. They just continue to live despite it. Clinging to their faith rather than abandoning it, they honor their loved one by continuing in his footsteps.

Our author has definitely transferred her passion into her writing. This isn’t a book for Hebrew/Yiddish children alone. It is for all culture, all religions. I love that she includes a bit of education by including the glossary. Not only will it assist readers, but it’s also a conversation starter for the whole family. I would include the age groups for this one as all elementary (K-5). I give it a full 5 stars and have to say I absolutely LOVE this book.

AUTHOR INFO: Lori S. Kline lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and son. She regularly attends minyan at Congregation Agudas Achim, where she chants Torah and teaches Hebrew. Her first book, Josiah’s Dreams, was released in 2014.PIC/SYNOPSIS BELONG SOLELY TO THE AUTHOR/PUBLISHER.