Title: Cakes and Miracles
Author: Barbara Diamond Goldin
Illustrator: Jaime Zollars
Publisher: PJ Publishing
Intended for Ages: 5 - 6 years
Jewish Customs: Purim, making hamentashen
Jewish Values: B’tzelem Elohim (created in the image of God), Adam Yehudi Nivrah (celebrating the uniqueness of every individual)
Even though Hershel can no longer see, he remembers what things looked like before he lost his sight. After a vivid dream in which an angel reminds him to use that special ability, Hershel creates beautiful shapes from his mother’s hamentashen dough. His cookies earn him a compliment and a possible future job from the town baker.
- This story reminds us that everybody has different ways of experiencing the world. The text is beautifully illustrated with rich sensory descriptions of Hershel’s activities. He forms shapes in the mud in the creek near his home. He hears the groggers at the Purim celebration. He smells the different aromas and feels the excitement around him at the marketplace when his cookies are selling so well. They must be very tasty!
- Sometimes the most loving parents need to be reminded that different children can contribute to the home in different ways. Hershel was already gathering water and wood, but his mother could not imagine he would also be able to create shapes for cookies.
Jewish Topics for Family Discussion
- History and traditions related to celebrating Purim: Don’t forget to make your own hamentashen!
- B’tzelem Elohim, we’re all made in God’s image: This book is a great springboard to start teaching children to be accepting of people with disabilities. Watch Shalom Sesame’s video about a playground for kids with disabilities to show your children a creative solution for people with special needs.
- Adam Yehudi Nivrah (respecting differences), the case for inclusion: In child-friendly words, it’s also about kavod, respect. With your kids, watching Shaboom!’s family-friendly video “All the Respect.” Adults may also want to read Living with a Child with Disabilities. PJ Library also offers other books that incorporate this need for inclusion.
PJ Library® provides the gift of free Jewish books and music to families raising Jewish children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years. Cakes and Miracles has been one of the popular selections for the 5-6 year old children who subscribe to PJ Library®. Enroll your child to be a part of this exciting program.