Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Seders

Celebrate the uniqueness of families, while helping children appreciate diverse holidays.

Portnoy, Mindy Avra.
A Tale of Two Seders.
March 2010.
Lerner Publishing Group.
Review copy provided courtesy of publisher.

Divorce, remarriage and its impact on children are all featured in A Tale of Two Seders, a story in which a young girl introduces the Jewish holiday of Passover to readers, while at the same time, sharing the ways in which divorce and remarriage have shaped her young life. Over the course of three years, the narrator (a young girl), spends the Passover holiday shared between her two homes - once with her mother and once with her father. Many aspects of the traditional Passover Seder is discussed at some length, allowing readers to begin to gain an understanding of the holiday and it's similarities and differences to holidays celebrated by other religions.

While the book is definitely sharing with readers a wealth of information regarding Passover, it seemed more to me as a story of coping with a significant change in family dynamics. In order for children to make the most of this book, it seems as though they need to have a basic understanding beforehand about Passover. This could be done simply by using the glossary found at the back of the book (a plus, in my eyes, as I'm not too familiar with Passover, myself). I definitely enjoyed the story being told, as there was an important message relayed at the very end
families are like charoset. Some have more ingredients than others, some stick together better than others, some are sweeter than others. But each one is tasty in its own way.
Learning/Reading Activity:
  • To understand the "moral" of the story (found directly above), have each member of your family create a smaller batch of each of the Charoset recipes found on page 30 and 31 of the book. Discuss as a family, the different ingredients. Choose which Charoset was the sweetest. The stickiest. The most ingredients. Compare these to your family. What makes your family unique?
  • Research more about the Jewish holiday of Passover. Choose 3 holidays from different cultures (ones that you don't typically celebrate in your family) and celebrate those holidays to find out more about different worldy cultures.

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