Normally, I don’t do giveaways or book reviews on this blog. There’s just so much stuff out there and I want to stay focused on the more creative side of my life. However, this book made me excited. I didn’t have enough time to read and review it before Passover so I agreed to do a giveaway.
There are many things that excite me about this book. I love the Jewish theme of Passover but I really loved the idea of setting this story against the backdrop of the civil rights movement. This is a story about feminism, human rights, and making better choices as a person.
Here is the book’s description from the publisher: Janet Ruth Heller, the award-winning author of a classic children’s picture book about bullying, shares another poignant story to help children grapple with complex issues. This time, the author of How the Moon Regained Her Shape (Arbordale, 2006; rpt. 2012), which won four national awards, delves into the topics of fairness, sexism, and diversity for a middle-grade audience. Her first chapter book for 8- to 12-year olds, The Passover Surprise (Fictive Press, 2015) combines a Civil Rights Era backdrop and experiences from Heller’s own Jewish upbringing to illustrate issues of the time like racism and sexism. The story follows Lisa and her little brother Jon as they participate in a stamp collecting competition. But when their father determines which child will get the new large stamp album, he bases his decision on his preconceived idea that stamp collecting is a boy’s hobby, not a girl’s hobby. Lisa has to learn how to discuss her feelings with her father in a calm and honest way. Her mother, her teacher, and her friends provide guidance to Lisa as her talk with her father and Passover, approach. The Passover Surprise raises important issues, including the treatment of women, sibling rivalry, bullying, and inclusion. By reading her father’s letters home from World War II, Lisa learns details about Jewish and Black soldiers’ experiences. Her school project on the Civil Rights Movement leads to Lisa’s finding similarities between her problems with bias against women and and the prejudice against African Americans. Parents and teachers can use the Discussion Guide to discuss these topics with their children and students. The book also exposes young readers to the traditional Jewish customs for celebrating the Sabbath. On Passover, family members remove leavened bread from the house and chant the seder prayers. The Passover Surprise includes a glossary of Hebrew terms used in the book, making it a great primer for readers not yet familiar with Jewish traditions.
Click here to order from Amazon or comment below to be entered into the giveaway. One lucky winner will be chosen Monday, April 18th 4 pm (PST). Hopefully, that will be enough time to get the book in time for Passover (April 22).