Book Review | Around the World in One Shabbat

Around the World in One Shabbat

Written and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard

Published by Jewish Lights, 2011, 32 pp.

Author/illustrator Bernhard takes young readers around the world to celebrate Shabbat starting on Friday morning in Jerusalem and then through Argentina, Australia, Turkey, Russia, France, America, Ethiopia, Germany, Canada, Morocco, Thailand, and India, before returning to Jerusalem for Havdalah.

See some of Durga’s artwork at Durga Yael’s Book Blog.

The good stuff

  • Great concept–Kids can see and read how their celebration of Shabbat connects with others around the world. Although celebrations may vary, as Jews we are all connected. Definite read-aloud opportunities.
  • Variety of customs–You can be the same yet different and still be an observant Jew.
  • Tone–There is reverence for the day of rest.
  • Detailed illustrations–The panoramic views are beautifully rendered with a vibrant color palette. They’d make great framed artwork for any Jewish home. (Hint to Durga!)

The not-so-good stuff

  • Authenticity? — I am a stickler for detail and this is a minor point. Does a child in St. Petersburg call his grandfather “Zayde?” Would “Joseph” in Germany really be “Jozef” or “Josef?”

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5.0

About Barbara Krasner

History writer and award-winning author Barbara Krasner writes Jewish-themed poetry, articles, nonfiction books, and novels for children and adults.
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4 Responses to Book Review | Around the World in One Shabbat

  1. B.K. – Welcome back to my computer screen. My “kvetch”: about many of the Jewish-theme books is the humdrum level of illustrations – anywhere from overly sweet to somewhat amateurish. One of the books I have kept on my bookshelf for years is GOLEM (written & illust. by David Wisniewski). Granted the story lends itself to powerful graphics but I wonder who’s making the decision in the books you review: the editor? the publisher? the publisher’s accountant? the illustrator? Can you do a blog about this? (By the way, the look of Israeli children’s books have moved forward in leaps and bounds.) Pnina Moed Kass

  2. I have written 9 picture books in Hebrew and among other things also worked on English language textbooks. Both these projects gave me a chance to work very closely with graphic designers and illustrators. I’m not sure if authors are aware of how much the illustrations can add or detract from their text. A really brilliant cover not only suggests what the book is all about but can clue the reader in as to plot and genre. The style of the illustration can also let an adult purchaser know the age group for this book . . . and that’s only the cover!

  3. Pingback: Association of Jewish Libraries Announces 2012 Sydney Taylor Book Awards | The Whole Megillah

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