A Tale of Two Seders

Illustrated by Valeria Cis
32 pages  •  Published 2010 (Kar-Ben Publishing)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Kindergarten through 3rd grade.
Publisher's Summary: When her parents get divorced, a little girl is worried about many things, including how she will celebrate the Jewish holidays in two different households. The holiday of Passover gives her a chance to celebrate separately with each parent. Over the course of three years and six seders, she and her family work to adjust to this new world, creating happy new lives and new family traditions.
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: This book, written by an ordained Rabbi, is a great read for a kid with divorced parents whose family celebrates Passover. With a metaphor that families are like charoset–each different, but “tasty in its own way,” this book validates painful feelings that come with divorce but ultimately celebrates family change, including the girl’s father remarrying, and provides hope that families with divorced parents will be joyful again. This book is probably best read after a family has restabilized somewhat following a divorce.
Tone: Engaging, honest, sweet
Story Quality: This story is charming and filled with cute details. It chronicles three years of Passover, starting with the one right after the girl’s parents divorced, including the changes in her family over these three years, and the traditions that stay the same. The girl shares her observations and a few things that are difficult, but she also shares positive changes that she notices. Charoset is used as a metaphor for families throughout the book–as the girl’s mom says at the end of the story, “Families are like charoset. Some have more ingredients than others, some stick together better than others, some are sweeter than others. But each one is tasty in its own way.” Delightfully, the book includes four different charoset recipes at the end.
Illustrations: Colorful, friendly illustrations with some stylization.
Representation: The main character is a White girl whose family is Jewish and celebrates Passover. Her mom is White, and her dad has light brown skin and black hair. She has a Grandpa Stan. Her parents divorced three years ago and share custody. Her dad lives in an apartment, and her mom lives in a house. She has her own room in both homes and has two seders–one at her mom’s and one at her dad’s. The year after her parents divorced, her dad introduces her to his girlfriend Gail, and a year later, they are engaged. The story ends with the girl’s parents coming together to join other families at their Temple for a seder so that the girl could celebrate with both her parents in the same place.
Psychological Practices: This book normalizes family changes and helps kids see that some things will change and others will stay the same. It provides hope that things will get easier and sends a strong message that families with divorced parents are great families too. There is a nice additional message in this book about the importance of friends and community, especially during a difficult experience like a divorce. The girl’s family’s seders feature friends of their parents and extended family, and the girl’s best friend joins for the third year seder at the Temple.
Concerns: None.

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