Friday, November 07, 2008

The Not-So-Random Shelf: Nonfiction

Learning about holidays is an accessible and child-friendly way to learn about various religions. We have several excellent children’s books on Jewish holidays, but I have to confess that I am partial to Dance, Sing, Remember: A Celebration of Jewish Holidays.

While some children’s books about religious holidays are written with nonbelievers of that faith in mind, Leslie Kimmelman refreshingly decided to address her audience as “we.” This involves both the Jewish child and the non-Jewish child to feel a part of the narrative. Kimmelman takes us through the Hebrew calendar and succinctly describes the reason for the holiday and how it is celebrated. She often includes a recipe, craft, or game after her explanation. The illustrations are bright and joyful for every holiday save for Yom HaShoah, which memorializes the Holocaust.

National Geographic’s Holidays Around the World
is one of my favorite recently published children’s nonfiction series. National Geographic has a reputation for amazing photographs and literary prose; that reputation is apparent in all their publications, including their books for children. Celebrate Ramadan & Eid al-Fitr
is a fine look at this Muslim holiday. The Holidays Around the World series includes many photographs of children of many nationalities and ethnicities; in this volume, we see pictures of African-American Muslims, Chinese Muslims, Iraqi Muslims, and Indonesian Muslims. The volumes within this series are short yet very readable, making them a good basic introduction to a variety of holidays.

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