The World Needs Beautiful Things

  • Interest Level: Preschool - Grade 2
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Young Bezalel is different from the other Israelite slaves in Egypt. He loves to collect stones, bugs, bits of string—these all seem beautiful to him. He keeps everything in his Beautiful Things Box and takes it with him everywhere. As the Israelites wander in the desert, God asks them to build a very special house—and Bezalel may be the only one who can create something beautiful enough to honor God.

Format Your Price Add
Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2018
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2018-08-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV033020, JUV039140, JUV039220
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.25 x 11
Lexile 580
Features Reviewed

Author: Leah Rachel Berkowitz

Rabbi Leah Rachel Berkowitz is a graduate of Brandeis University and Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. She has written extensively for adults and teens about Judaism, spirituality, and women's experiences. She lives in Poughkeepsie, New York.

Illustrator: Daniele Fabbri

Daniele Fabbri is an award-winning illustrator and animator with illustration projects in both Europe and the United States. He lives in northern Italy.


Jewish Journal

“Bezalel and the Israelites were slaves in Egypt. But young Bezalel had an eye for beauty and loved to collect pretty things like shiny stones and colored strings, and place them into his ‘Beautiful Things Box.’ When it’s time to escape Egypt and wander through the desert, he takes along his precious box, saying, ‘The world needs beautiful things,’ and he collects more along the way to Eretz Yisrael. One day, Moses tells the people that ‘God wants us to build a house of beautiful things’ called a mishkan, a place for God to dwell. Bezalel is chosen to design the house of God because he understands how the earth can provide beautiful things, such as wood from desert trees, blossoms from prickly cactus and sparkly stones from rock. Eventually, Bezalel (whose name means ‘in God’s shadow’) is responsible for building the ‘biggest Beautiful Things Box ever’ with the help of the other Israelites. This story is taken from the book of Exodus. It is enhanced by lovely full-color illustrations by a well-known Italian illustrator and animator.”―Jewish Journal

Jewish Book Council

“Bezalel is a slave in Egypt. Although his life is harsh, he sees beauty everywhere. To him, a feather, a smooth stone, and a piece of colored string are treasures to be cherished and stored in his Beautiful Things Box. When Pharaoh suddenly allows the Israelites to go free, and they can only take what they can carry, Bezalel refuses to leave his Beautiful Things Box behind. While in the desert, God calls to Moses and orders that a special dwelling place, a mishkan, be built for Him. Moses has no idea where they will they find materials to build a suitable house for God—until Bezalel empties his Beautiful Things Box on the sand. God is so pleased that Bezalel appreciates the beauty of simple objects that He chooses the young boy to design the mishkan.
Daniele Fabbri, an award-winning illustrator, uses a painterly style and a palette of mostly earth tones to imbue the illustrations with a charming, fairy-tale quality. A brief author’s note explains that a man named Bezalel, who appears in the Book of Exodus, is chosen by God to design and build the mishkan, and is given every skill he needs to do so.
Readers may also be interested in reading A Queen in Jerusalem featuring the Bezalel Academy, a school of art which is named after this biblical character.
Recommended for ages 5 to 9.” – Jewish Book Council

Chicago Jewish Star

“Even as a slave in Egypt, young Bezalel found beautiful things to collect and keep in his Beautiful Things Box, in this story for ages 3 to 8, The World Needs Beautiful Things by Leah Rachel Berkowitz, illustrated by Daniele Fabbri. When the time suddenly came to leave Egypt, Bezalel’s parents told him to leave his Beautiful Things Box behind. ‘You don’t need all those stones, strings, and bug wings,’ he was told. But he took the box anyway, and in the desert, he offered his beautiful things for the Mishkan. Because Bezalel found beauty wherever he was, god selected him to design the Mishkan. Beautifully told and illustrated, youngsters (some will need encouragement) will understand the point of the story and start to see beauty in unexpected places.” – Chicago Jewish Star

Foreword Reviews

“When Moses leads the Israelites out of Egypt, a young slave boy with feathers in his hair and colorful strings on his fingers finds extraordinary value in ordinary things, gaining attention from an unexpected source. Bezalel, from the biblical book of Exodus, is depicted in softly fluid, graceful illustrations, his box of treasures overflowing in a whimsical tale about finding the beauty in everything, from rocks and bug wings to moonlight on the desert sand.” – Foreword Reviews

AJL Newsletter

“Artistic passion and talent are rewarded in this delightful rendition of Exodus 31 when God tells Moses that He has chosen Bezalel, whom he endowed with a divine spirit in every kind of craft, to build the Mishkan. The picture book shows these talents. Bezalel starts as a young child, a slave in Egypt. Beautiful things can make him forget his slavery. He collects special objects in his ‘Beautiful Things Box’ which he insists on taking on the Exodus march across the desert and through the sea. He collects objects too big for his box in his mind. God asks for his own Beautiful Place, stating that everyone can find something of beauty if they know where to look. Looking, seeing, finding, thinking beauty are the spectacular gifts of Bezalel. He pulls out the beautiful ideas stored in his mind and his box, encourages ideas from his fellow Israelites and guides them in the actual construction and decoration of the Mishkan. God gains a magnificent place to dwell. The sprightly text features personal dialog from Bezalel, his parents, Moses, and God. The charming, mobile, earth toned illustrations enhance the text, advance the story and deliver a little-known Biblical hero to readers age 4-7.”—Association of Jewish Libraries