Sunday, January 6, 2008

Jen Robinson Reviews Julia's Kitchen

The acclaimed Jen Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page (and recent interviewee on Just One More Book) has posted a glowing review of Julia's Kitchen by Brenda Ferber, which was the 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner in the Older Readers Category. Jen, in fact, mentions the award and discusses the Jewish content of the story:

Julia's Kitchen
won the 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Award, which recognizes the best in Jewish children's literature. Cara's Jewishness is an essential part of the story. The community from their local Synagogue supports Cara and her father in their tragedy. They follow the Jewish customs of mourning. Cara analyzes her feelings about God, in light of the events. She misses the food-related rituals that her mother celebrated, and eventually learns from her grandmother how to make challah. The details about Cara's family's Jewish customs are organic to the story, never over-explained or feeling "educational". The funeral details, in particular, give Cara, and the reader, something to focus on besides sadness. Here's an example:

"We weren't allowed to get any food for ourselves or help with the dishes or anything. Friends and relatives did it all. We didn't have to greet anyone or say thank you either. I liked those customs." (Page 24)

For the full review, click here. And thanks to Jen for this lovely review!

1 comment:

Jen Robinson said...

Thanks, Heidi! I'm glad that you found the review. Clearly, I think that the Sydney Taylor award committee made an excellent choice in selecting Julia's Kitchen. I look forward to reading your 2008 picks! Thanks again for highlighting my review.