Raquela’s Seder by Joel Edward Stein, illustrated by Sara Ugolotti

Published by Kar-Ben Publishing

Summary:  Raquela and her family live in Spain during a time when it’s forbidden for them to practice their Jewish faith.  They celebrate Shabbat each week in their wine cellar, but Raquela has only heard about Passover.  One year she asks her parents if they can have a seder.  Her mother says it’s too dangerous, but her father, a great fisherman, gets a thoughtful look in his eyes.  The night before Passover begins, Raquela’s parents pack a basket, and the next night they sneak onto her dad’s fishing boat.  Papá takes them to his favorite secret fishing spot, where they drop anchor and proceed to have a seder dinner.  An old fisherman sees them when they return, saying that it must have been a special night for Papá to take his family out fishing with him.  Raquela says to her father, “It was a night different from all other nights.”  Includes additional information about Passover and the Spanish Inquisition and its consequences for Spanish Jews.  32 pages; grades K-3.

Pros:  An excellent book for celebrating Passover that weaves the original Passover story into the Spanish one and focuses on the hope and endurance of both groups of Jews.

Cons:  I wouldn’t have objected to a bit more historical back matter.

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