Sadie and the Big Mountain
Title: Sadie and the Big Mountain
Author: Jamie Korngold
Illustrator: Julie Fortenberry
Intended for Ages: 4-5 years
Jewish values: Ometz lev, Hebrew words that literally mean ‘strength of heart.’ In English we call it courage.
Synopsis: When her early childhood class plans a Shavuot hike, Sadie is afraid she won’t be able to make it to the top of the “mountain” and tries to think of ways to avoid the walk. When the day arrives, it’s much different (and better!) than Sadie expected.
I loved this book because my family, including my granddaughter, loves to hike. Among the delightful illustrations are characters subtly exercising egalitarian choice in whether or not to wear a kippah, a head-covering.
This story shows us how to approach our goals when they seem too large to undertake. Sadie discovers that the fear she had about the school hike was real but surmountable. She learns how to conquer her fears when trying something new. Sadie also realizes that there are people she can trust to help her along the way, because she’s not doing it by herself.
We read how the Ten Commandments teach us how to be the best we can be. Using a child-friendly listing of the commandments, Sadie’s teacher explains how we all need rules to get along with each other.
Traditions related to Shavuot: Sadie’s class hikes up a mountain because the Torah teaches that Moses climbed Mt. Sinai to receive the Ten Commandments. At the top of the mountain, Sadie’s class enjoys a cheese blintz picnic because, among many explanations, the words of Torah are often thought to be as sweet as milk and honey.
Discussion Questions and Activities for families
What does it feel like to be on a journey when you’re not sure what’s at the end of the road? Who can help you on your way when you’re afraid?
What rules do you try to follow every day? What does it feel like when there are no rules?
Sadie and the Big Mountain was mailed to 4-5 year old children in May 2018 as part of their PJ Library® subscription. 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. To sign up, enroll at PJ Library.