The arrival of spring means the celebration of important holidays for both the Christian and Jewish faith. With Purim falling on the evening of March 23, Easter on March 27, and Passover from April 22-April 30, this is the perfect time to read our beautiful and fun books centered on these celebrations:
On Purim follows a family as they prepare and celebrate the Jewish observance of Purim, during which they wear costumes and masks as they act out Queen Esther's rescue of the Jewish people (as told in the Book of Esther). While making and eating hamentashen (pastries filled with poppy seeds and honey), playing games at the carnival, and wearing costumes is fun, a young girl wonders and eventually learns the real meaning behind the festivity. This is a fine read for all backgrounds, even those not familiar with the celebration.
Celebrate Easter With Colored Eggs, Flowers, And Prayers is part of the best nonfiction holiday series for children, Holidays Around the World. This is a multicultural exploration of the holiday, including both secular and religious observances throughout the world.
Intricately designed eggs are a well-known aspect of Ukrainian culture, which is explored in Patricia Polacco's gorgeously written and illustrated Rechenka's Eggs. This tender story of Rechenka, a goose that breaks a Ukrainian woman's elaborate eggs and later lays a dozen brilliantly colored eggs has an ethereal quality that makes it ideal for a quiet read-aloud for patient listeners.
If you are in search of a Passover-related book that goes beyond the basics of the observance, check out ABC Passover Hunt. Readers/listeners will search for clues based on each letter of the alphabet (for B, which stands for Baby Moses, readers will search for Moses's boat). As this is published by a Jewish press (Kar-Ben), and not for a general audience, those not familiar with the holiday might struggle with some of the puzzles (an answer key is included)
If you'd like more suggestions for Easter and Passover books, check out my post from 2014. (My favorites: Here Comes the Easter Cat; The Passover Lamb; and The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah. Top-notch reads for these special holidays.)
Jennifer Schultz, Youth Services Librarian, Fauquier County Public Library