A Different Kind of Passover

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 1

Jessica loves spending Passover with her grandparents. But this year, Grandpa is sick and can’t lead the seder like he always does. Jessica knows Passover won’t be the same. But maybe she can find a way to include Grandpa in the seder—and make the holiday as joyful as ever.

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 1
Genre Picture Books, Social Studies
Copyright 2017
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2017-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV033020, JUV017120, JUV039050
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Lexile 630
Features Reviewed

Author: Linda Leopold Strauss

Linda Leopold Strauss is a graduate of Vassar College and Columbia University. She has been writing for young people for over 40 years and has published twelve books and many stories for children. Her work has been translated into French, Italian, German, and Swedish. She lives with her husband in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Illustrator: Jeremy Tugeau

Jeremy Tugeau graduated from Syracuse university with a degree in Illustration. He has illustrated many children's books including Always an Olivia and Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles. He lives in Ohio with his wife and children.


Good Reads with Ronna

“Any child who has ever celebrated a holiday when someone special couldn’t attend will relate to A Different Kind of Passover. But even those who haven’t will appreciate the sentiments expressed and the lovely twist author Linda Leopold-Strauss has added in this heartwarming story I’m delighted to share.

Grandpa is sick and has just come back home from the hospital. That means the Passover seder will be different this year and narrator Jessica wonders how that will change things, especially now that she’s going to ask the Four Questions in Hebrew. And since she’s finding it hard to imagine a seder without Grandpa, Jessica soon realizes it doesn’t have to be that way. Grandpa may be nearby tucked in bed, and wearing pajamas, but how convenient that ‘… Grandpa’s door opens to the dining room?’ notes an enthused Jessica. When Grandpa questions his participation in such attire, Grandma remarks, ‘Does God care if you’re in your pajamas?’ The plan is hatched and the seder will take place with most things remaining the same as always and just a few things different like Grandpa reclining in bed and cousin Mark ‘getting to sip sweet wine instead of grape juice, since he has just had his bar mitzvah.’

The joy of family and tradition in this story is wonderfully conveyed through Tugeau’s muted illustrations. I love the varied perspectives he shares, especially the ones where we know it’s Grandpa looking out on his family seated around the dining room table. Nothing says everyone must be in the same room for a seder so when Jessica comes up with the great idea to include Grandpa by leaving his bedroom door open, it’s symbolic in so many meaningful ways. Leopold-Strauss has created a sweet and thoughtfully written seder story that will resonate with young readers for years to come.”—Good Reads with Ronna

Catholic Library World

“This is a pleasant read by an author well versed in juvenile literature with a focus on the theme of the importance of the family within Jewish folklore, especially during the celebration of the traditional Passover seder (order)dinner. In this story, the family patriarch, the grandfather, is juxtaposed to the youngest member of the family, the granddaughter. As a matter of traditional course, the youngest participant is expected to converse in a didactic exchange with the query ‘Why is this night different from all other nights?’ The night of this seder is different because the grandfather is ill and cannot sit at the head of the dinner table and lead the ritual ceremony. Nevertheless, with the assistance of other family members, the grandfather is still able to hide the afikomen (Greek for ‘I have come’) under his pillow, allowing the granddaughter to complete the process of finding it and receiving a reward. In the end, it is the family that is rewarded for accomplishing a mitzvah (blessing) under some difficulty with the recognition of the importance of togetherness.”—Catholic Library World

Jewish Journal

“A young girl practices the Four Questions in Hebrew and travels, as usual, to her grandparents’ house for the seder with her extended family. She loves the repetition of the yearly rituals, but this year her “heart hurts” because Grandpa was in the hospital recently and cannot leave his bed to lead the seder. She cleverly solves the problem of how Grandpa still can be included with the rest of the family and learns that when things change, they also can remain the same in many ways. The well-written and poignant tale provides us with a young person’s view of the meaning of joyful Passover family traditions.”

Jewish Book Council

“Jessica can’t imagine Passover without her beloved grandfather, but this year he is in bed, recovering from a hospital stay and therefore unable to lead the family seder. This night is supposed to be different from all other nights, but this is the wrong kind of different, Jessica thinks. Then she sees her grandfather reclining on pillows in bed—just like he would be doing at the table. With the help of the whole family, Grandpa is still able to lead the seder, with some adjustments. And though he isn’t the one to hide the afikomen, he remains joyfully right in the middle of all the action. With quiet, impressionistic illustrations, this is a warm tribute both to the holiday of Passover and to strong family bonds. It’s also a gentle lesson in how to manage life’s inevitable changes and challenges.”—Jewish Book Council

Kirkus Reviews

“Passover is a time of traditional observance, but this year could be different for a young girl.Jessica is busy practicing the four questions in Hebrew; it is tradition for the youngest child to ask the questions at a family Passover Seder. She is looking forward to joining her grandparents and cousins, and she especially loves that everything is the same from year to year. But things may be different this year. Grandpa has been in the hospital, and even though he has come home, he is not well. Will someone else read the entire Haggadah, the story of the Passover exodus? Who will hide the afikoman, the middle piece of matzo on the Seder table that the children search for and redeem for a gift? Jessica has the answers. Grandpa can stay in his bedroom with the door open and conduct the Seder, reclining on his pillows as is customary. The family works together to prepare the table, and the Seder begins with Grandpa and help from an uncle. Jessica happily finds the afikoman in a very special place. Those who celebrate Passover will find a story that resonates with tradition and family love. The colorful illustrations depict a white family drawn together at a special time. A girl finds wonderful answers to her Passover questions in this sympathetic tale that will resonate with many families.”—Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

“‘I can’t imagine our seder without Grandpa at the table,’ worries Jessica as her family travels to her grandparents’ house to celebrate Passover; her grandfather is just out of the hospital and confined to his bed. Leopold-Strauss (The Elijah Door) creates an intimate and highly believable portrait of the sorts of adjustments a family must make to beloved traditions as roles shift and its members age; tensions flare up now and again (one gets the sense that everyone in the family has an opinion on how best to care for Grandpa during his convalescence) but Jessica’s quick thinking leads to some small modifications that lets Grandpa take part in the evening’s rituals. Although Tugeau’s (the Buddy Files series) illustrations can be a bit too rough and sketchlike at times, his forceful brushstrokes and hatching bring dramatic intensity to the scenes.”—Publishers Weekly