Fall 2023

The Promise

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

A garden is a prayer. It is also a promise. In a Moroccan village, a Jewish boy and a Muslim boy are best friends. Jacob and Hassan play together every day in the cool shade of Jacob’s family garden. They take care of the garden together, watching the roses and the orange trees grow tall. When news of terrible things happening to Jews in Europe reaches their little village, Jacob’s family must leave Morocco. Hassan promises to care for their beloved garden. “While the garden lives, our friendship will never die," Jacob says. Years pass until, one day, the prayer of the garden is answered. Inspired by a true story.

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Interest Level Preschool - Grade 2
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Category Diverse Books: Celebrating Differences , Diverse Books: Immigration & Refugees, Diverse Books: Race & Ethnicity, Diversity, SEL: C Social Awareness, SEL: D Relationship Skills, Social Emotional Learning
Copyright 2023
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 24
Publication Date 2023-09-05
Text Type Fiction—Historical
BISACS JUV039060, JUV039280, JUV016010
Dewey [Fic]
Dimensions 10.625 x 8.875
Features Afterword, Awards, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author: Fawzia Gilani-Williams

Fawzia Gilani was born and raised in England where she became a teacher. She is the author of many children's books and an international educational consultant with a PhD in children's literature and character development. She is a Global Representative for the International Positive Education Network and works for the Abu Dhabi Education Council. She spends her time in the United Arab Emirates, Ohio, and England with her daughter and husband.

Author: Bridget Hodder

Bridget Hodder began her career as an Aztec archaeologist, translating ancient stories. Then she realized she had her own tales to tell. She is Sephardic, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor, and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, UCLA and Vanderbilt University.

Illustrator: Cinzia Battistel

Cinzia Battistel has been illustrating children's books for more than 20 years. She is also an author of art books for children and has worked as a set designer of animated films. She also co-created a TV series for children.


  • Bank Street College of Education's Best Children's Books of the Year 2024, Winner, 2024


Jewish Book Council

“Based on a true sto­ry, The Promise is a dif­fi­cult book to close…Leaves us hop­ing that we, too, can cul­ti­vate beau­ti­ful lives and peace­ful days.”―Jewish Book Council

Kirkus Reviews

“Tender and heart-rending.”―Kirkus Reviews

Association of Jewish Libraries

“A welcome and unique story about Sephardic Jews that deserves a place on every library shelf.”―Association of Jewish Libraries

Sydney Taylor Shmooze

“Based on a true friendship, The Promise is a unique example of how diverse people form life-long bonds with mutual respect and admiration. A lovely, heartfelt story.”―Sydney Taylor Shmooze