Editorial Review

School Library Journal

Cover: Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi Akiva

“Rabbi Akiva, the second century Jewish sage, is considered to be one of the greatest rabbinic scholars and was the inspiration for many legends. Jules, who previously focused on biblical heroes in Abraham’s Search for God, Benjamin and the Silver Goblet, Miriam in the Dessert, and Sarah Laughs, illuminates one of the many legends about Rabbi Akiva. A poor, illiterate shepherd, he falls in love with a wealthy man’s daughter. Rachel admires how gently Akiva tends his flock, visits the sick, and helps those in need, and she agrees to marry him against her father’s wishes. The couple live a poor, simple life but they are happy. Rachel encourages her husband to learn how to read and write and he starts school at the age of 40. But Akiva doubts himself. One day, Akiva stopped by a brook and noticed a hole in the bottom of a rock. ‘Water is soft…And yet, drop by drop, it has managed to cut through this hard stone. My mind is not harder than a rock! I can learn—just like water cuts through stone—a little bit each day.’ After he masters the Hebrew alphabet, Akiva leaves his wife to study far away with the best teachers. When he finally returns home, he introduces Rachel to his students and insists that she share the credit for his success because she has always believed in him. Nayberg’s textured, stylized paintings, in warm green and brown earth tones, beautifully complement the story and the brief author’s note provides additional information about Akiva and Rachel. Despite his prominence and importance in Jewish history, this is the first picture book to introduce Rabbi Akiva to young readers and teachers in Jewish settings will welcome it wholeheartedly. VERDICT This engaging read-aloud can serve as an inspiration to all readers.”–School Library Journal

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Drop by Drop: A Story of Rabbi Akiva
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