Soon after I started reviewing children's books, I encountered an alphabet book that was created by a small publishing house in Michigan. The book was unique in that in it poetry, artwork, and sections of nonfiction text were brought together and presented in an alphabet book format. When the publishing house, Sleeping Bear Press, brought out more alphabet books using the same format I was delighted. What a wonderful way to engage young readers. Today I bring you one of these alphabet book titles. Readers can read the poems first, and then they can go back to the beginning of the book and read the nonfiction text.
A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabet
Illustrator: Ron Mazellan
Nonfiction and Poetry Picture Book Series
For ages 6 to 12
Sleeping Bear Press, 2013, 978-1585363223
Trying to understand the rules, traditions, and history of a faith is never easy, even if you are of that faith. For people outside the faith, the stories and customs can be confusing, and the nuances of meaning can be lost. In this splendid picture book, Richard Michelson explores the Jewish faith in a new way. Using the format of an alphabet book the author tells his readers about some of the things that make the Jewish faith unique and interesting.
For every letter of the alphabet Richard Michelson focuses on some aspect of Jewish life. For the letter B he tells us about Bar and Bat Mitvahs, the coming of age ceremonies that signify that a young person is no longer a child. For the letter C he tells us about challah, a special bread that Jews eat on the Jewish Sabbath. This braided bread is a just one of the many special foods that Jews make.
This book can be enjoyed on several levels because each topic includes a poem, an illustration, and then a longer section of text. Young children can look at the pictures, and they can either have the poems read to them, or they can read them themselves. Older children will enjoy reading the more involved sidebar text. It is here that they will find out further details about Jewish religious practices, history, and customs.
This is just one in a splendid collection of alphabet book published by Sleeping Bear Press. Other topics covered include cats, poetry, and music.