Raquela yearns to celebrate a Passover seder, but Inquisition-era Spain is a time when Jews must hide their religion. Under the rising moon, her clever papa, the best fisherman in town, creates a unique celebration for his family. In his fishing boat on the sea, far from prying eyes, they celebrate Raquela’s first seder with matzah and the Passover story.
|Interest Level||Kindergarten - Grade 3|
|Reading Level||Grade 2|
|Category||Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning|
|Publisher||Lerner Publishing Group|
|Imprint||Kar-Ben Publishing ®|
|Number of Pages||32|
Author: Joel Edward Stein
Joel Stein is a former staff writer for CTB/McGraw-Hill. A member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, he lives in Florida with his wife, son, two birds, and a tortoise. His books include A Hanukkah with Mazel, The Pigeon Man, and The Capture of Rafael Ortega.
Illustrator: Sara Ugolotti
Sara Ugolotti was born near Reggio Emilia, in the north of Italy. She earned a degree in Illustration at the International School of Comics in Reggio Emilia. She draws and paints using different techniques but mainly works in digital format. Her projects include magazines, children’s book illustration and cartoon animations. Her illustrations have been selected for exhibitions throughout the world. She lives in Parma, Italy.
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- Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College Best Children's Book of the Year
- Sydney Taylor Notable Book
" Stein’s premise is lyrically illustrated in Ugolotti’s atmospheric art: the little boat is illuminated by a huge full moon, and the family celebrates accompanied by starry skies and undulating waves in shades of greens and blues." — Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
“Thoughtful and tender, this beautiful story of hope is a valuable addition to all collections.”—starred, School Library Journal
“A lovely, moving tale of stolen freedom and hopes for a new beginning.” — Kirkus Reviews
Jewish Book Council
Comforting, warm, deeply toned illustrations and simple, quiet storytelling portray a moment in the life of Raquela, a young girl who is an only child and lives with her parents in Spain during the time of the Inquisition. As many Jews found it necessary to do during the Inquisition, Raquela and her family celebrate the Sabbath in secrecy. Her parents have told her about the holiday of Passover but are afraid to celebrate the holiday with a traditional seder. Raquela wants to experience a seder, but her entreaties are met only with parental concern. Then, her fisherman father comes up with a creative approach enabling Raquela’s wish to come true in a unique and satisfying way.
Age-appropriately hinting at the historical horrors without graphic descriptions, the story sweeps the reader into a world of small miracles, devotion, imagination, and parental love. Raquela and her family create a seder the reader longs to attend.