Raquela's Seder

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

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.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Category Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity, SEL: A Self-Awareness, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: E Responsible Decision-Making, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2022
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2022-02-01
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS JUV033020, JUV016040, JUV017120
Dewey [E]
Dimensions 9.25 x 11
Lexile 640
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Reviewed, and Starred Reviews

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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Publishers Weekly

" 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

School Library Journal

“Thoughtful and tender, this beautiful story of hope is a valuable addition to all collections.”—starred, School Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

“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.