Picture Book Review: Almost a Minyan

ALMOST A MINYAN
by
LORI S. KLINE
ARTWORK BY SUSAN SIMON
  Genre: Picture Book / Jewish Traditions

Publisher: Sociosights Press  Facebook Twitter

Date of Publication: April 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 40
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Will she be the one to take Grandfather’s place?
According to Jewish tradition, a quorum of ten adults is required for public worship. Almost a Minyan traces the story of a young girl whose father and grandfather are regular participants in the town’s minyan – until her beloved Zayde passes on.
Without him, it is even harder for her father to find enough people to make a minyan. Then one day, he brings Zayde’s tefillin to his eldest daughter. A striking new addition to the diverse books movement, Almost a Minyan shares important Hebrew terms and religious concepts through a compelling and beautifully illustrated story for children.
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PRAISE FOR ALMOST A MINYAN:

“A warmhearted introduction to coming-of-age in a worship community.”  
Kirkus Reviews
“A story of inclusion, belonging and equality. I loved the modern, egalitarian, and traditional values shared in this meaningful story. This is a wonderful modern story for our children and grandchildren!”
Cantor Deborah Katchko-Gray
Congregation Shir Shalom, CT
Founder of the Women Cantors’ Network
“A delightful read for girls and boys alike, this poetic family tale brings a wonderful sentimentality to daily Jewish prayers. Moreover, the beauty of the illustrations contributes additional warmth to this snapshot of Jewish life. A nice addition for all libraries and all ages.”
Rabbi Jimmy Kessler, DHL, DD
Congregation B’nai Israel, Galveston

 

What a sweet story accompanied by gorgeous artwork!  Almost A Minyan is as much the tale of a tween’s coming-of-age in her Jewish community as it is a heartwarming tale of  love, family, tradition and life coming full circle.

I’m not Jewish and a quick glance at the book told me we would need the included glossary, so that’s where my daughter and I started. The Yiddish and Jewish terms added a richness to the story and shouldn’t stop those not familiar with the terms consider this book. Instead, it provided a look into another religion and culture, and was a great jumping off point for conversation with my daughter.

The story is told in rhyming verse from the perspective of an un-named tween and manages to capture so many emotions: respect, devotion, sadness, joy and pride.  The rhythm of the tale would lend well to reading aloud – and for this, I’m a long-standing fan of print editions. This is a book that I would want to hold in my hands and turn the pages slowly as we explore the words and tie them to the images.

And speaking of the images: the illustrations are simply beautiful. Artist Simon provides richly colored pages that capture both the joy and sadness in the tale. The faces are beautifully rendered, the scenes simple but with enough detail to invite you to look more closely.

In a world where we all could use a little more understanding of each other, I would recommend this book for those not of the Jewish faith; for those of the Jewish faith, I think this book is a lovely homage to a huge moment in  coming-of-age.

Thank you to Lone Star Book Blog Tours and Sociosights Press for providing me with an electronic advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Lori Sales Kline heralds from Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh, PA, which hosts a wonderfully rich Jewish community that fueled her love for Jewish tradition, ritual and practice at home and at, “the shul.”  Following her undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Texas in Austin, Lori chose to make Austin her home, largely due to the spiritual connection she felt in the close-knit Austin Jewish community.  In her spare time, Lori enjoys camping, celebrating Judaism with her husband and son, and friends. She previously authored the children’s picture book,  Josiah’s Dreams.


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minyanSusan Simon’s illustrations feature expressive children, humor, sweetness, and imaginative whimsy. She has illustrated seventeen children’s books. Susan lives in the Sonoran Desert of southern Arizona, with the saguaro cactuses, the coyotes, the Catalina mountains, and her husband, D.B., a music theory professor at the University of Arizona.

As a very young child, Susan both learned from and fell in love with the goodness and beauty readable in some children’s book illustrations. Without having words for it, she understood very young the power of a picture to inform deeply. When she’s not trying to give her all to share with children that kind of quality in her own work, she enjoys walking her two beloved rescued mutts – Oatcake and Peach – riding her giant green bicycle, and playing her growly old accordion.

She is a member of the Graphic Artists Guild, and is currently active in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrator, serving as Co-Illustration Representative for Arizona.

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GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!

One Signed Copy of Almost A Minyan
March 24-April 7, 2017
(U.S. Only)

 

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
3/24
Illustration Preview 1
3/25
Review
3/26
Author Interview 1
3/27
Review
3/28
Guest Post
3/29
Promo
3/30
Review
3/31
Illustration Preview 2
4/1
Review
4/2
Author Interview 2
4/3
Review
4/4
Excerpt
4/5
Illustration Preview 3
4/6
Review
4/7
Author Interview 3

 

 

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