Review: A Sweet Meeting on Mimouna Night

A Sweet Meeting on Mimouna Night by Allison Ofanansky, illustrated by Rotem Teplow

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Sandy Wasserman

A lovely historical fiction picture book about a lesser known and more recent tradition to the cycle of Jewish holidays- mimouna, following the end of the Passover holiday, often celebrated in North African Jewish communities, particularly in Morocco. We meet Miriam and Jasmine, a Jewish girl and a Muslim girl and their relationship, though tentative at first, is quickly warm and friendly as they get to know each other, and as they bond over the necessary flour for making moufletas for mimouna. Even after Miriam and her family make aliyah, she thinks back to her Muslim friend back in Morocco. The illustrations are entrancing- both the scenes in Morocco and then in Jerusalem seem like familiar photos. The recipe for moufletas at the end is an usual addition to the typical Passover picture book.

This is a Passover book with a twist! This Jewish holiday story is rich with a custom the reader can merely learn about, or then add to one's own family celebration. Mimouna is becoming more well known; how can we not love a Jewish holiday that combines sweetness, friendship and unity. And aliyah is part of Jewish life as well, part of the possibility of the Jewish experience.

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Reviewer Sandy Wasserman is a retired teacher of Gifted and Talented students; she taught for 35 years in both public schools and at a Solomon Schechter Day School. She's a wife, mother of two adult daughters, and grandmother to two fantastic 'first readers' of her manuscripts. Her published book, The Sun's Special Blessing [2009], was her first serendipitous and fun experience in the publishing world. She loves to read and swim, though not at the same time.