Random Jottings

Internationa Ch Bk Day 2121Every year the International Board on Books for Young People sponsors a day to celebrate children’s books. Called International Children’s Book Day,  the celebration falls on Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2.  The intent is to both  inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.

This year’s poster and message come from the United States. The colorful poster was designed by Roger Mello, an internationally acclaimed illustrator, author , and awinner of the Hans Christian Andersen award.

The inspiration message about books was authored by Margarita Engle, a Cuban-American, author of many lauded books including the 2010 Sydney  Taylor winner in the teen category, Tropical Secrets.  This novel-in-verse, tells of the plight of Holocaust refugees from the perspective of several characters, each of whom has a distinct voice.

Here is her poem for International Children’s Book Day:

The Music of Words

When we read, our minds grow wings.
When we write, our fingers sing.

Words are drumbeats and flutes on the page,
soaring songbirds and trumpeting elephants,
rivers that flow, waterfalls tumbling,
butterflies that twirl
high in the sky!

Words invite us to dance—rhythms, rhymes, heartbeats,
hoofbeats, and wingbeats, old tales and new ones,
fantasies and true ones.

Whether you are cozy at home
or racing across borders toward a new land
and a strange language, stories and poems
belong to you.

When we share words, our voices
become the music of the future,
peace, joy and friendship,
a melody
of hope. 

Some children’s books of international or cross cultural  interest include:

Honey on the page: A treasury of Yiddish children’s literature

Ades, Judah Touro didn’t want to be famous

Aroeste, Buen shabat, shabbat shalom

Auxier, Sweep: the story of a girl and her monster

Bari, Does your dog speak Hebrew? A book of animal sounds

Blumenthal, Parrots, pugs and pixie dust: a book about fashion designer Judith Lieber

Churnin, Martin and Anne: the kindred spirits of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Anne Frank

Goldberg, Room for rent

Gottesfeld, No stripe behind: Beate Sirota Gordon’s battle for women’s rights in Japan

Grubman, Oy Vey! Life in a shoe

Hoffman, The brave cyclist: the true story of a Holocaust hero

Kacer, The brave princess and me: inspired by a true story

Kiffel-Alcheh, A hoopoe says “oop!” animals of Israel

Kusel, The Passover Guest

Levine, A ceiling made of eggshells

Levy, The key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and her music

Lunge-Larsen, Noah’s mittens: the story of felt

MacLeod, Yossi and the monkeys: a Shavuot story

Malaspina, A Scarf for Keiko

Nadler, Such a library! A Yiddish folktale reimagined

Newman, Itzhak: a boy who loved the violin

Ofanansky, New month, new moon

Palacio, White bird: a wonder story

Polacco, Thundercake

Rockliff, Doctor Esperanto and the language of hope

Rubin, The flag with fifty-six stars: a gift from the survivors of Mauthausen

Schneider, Snow for everyone!

Sis, Nicky & Vera: a quiet hero of the Holocaust and the children he rescued

bread giversSnyder, Nosh, schlep, schluff: baby Yiddish

Woodruff, The memory coat

Zalben, A Moon for Moe and Mo

While children’s books are for everyone — some of the best writing is by authors of books for young readers — of interest to adults might be the new Great Jewish Book Club sponsored by My Jewish Learning. Each monthly session will focus on a classic Jewish novel  beginning with The Bread Givers by Anzia Yezerkia . To register follow the link below:


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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
Aileen Grossberg

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