Review: Can Sophie Change the World?

Can Sophie Change the World?

by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, illustrated by Aura Lewis

Chronicle Books, 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Linda Elovitz Marshall

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In Can Sophie Change the World? by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace, Grandpop asks Sophie for one thing for his birthday – he wants HER to change the world! Worried but undaunted, Sophie gets to work. She waters plants, returns dropped stuffed animals, shares puppets, and teaches a clapping song. She does mitzvah (good deed) after mitzvah in a community of diverse people. But Sophie doesn’t feel her efforts work… until Grandpop explains that she is making the world a better place. Sophie realizes that, mitzvah by mitzvah, she’s changing the world. This sweet story about kindness teaches the Jewish value of Tikkun Olam (repairing the world) and demonstrates how everyone can help make our world a better place. Charmingly retro garden-inspired illustrations by Aura Lewis make Sophie’s story even sweeter.

With its diverse cast of characters, Can Sophie Change the World? teaches how even the smallest children can perform mitzvot and help make the world a better place. Recommended for ages 3-6. Great for teachers, preschools, and as an intergenerational sharing book.

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Reviewer Linda Elovitz Marshall, award-winning author of almost two dozen fiction and non-fiction picture books, has received Sydney Taylor Notable honors for "The Passover Lamb" (Random House) and "The Polio Pioneer: Dr. Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine" (Knopf Books for Young Readers). Former preschool teacher, parenting educator, and bookstore owner, she is all-but-dissertation for her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology. Linda and her husband (now-retired family practice doctor) raised four children, a small flock of sheep, chickens, goats, and countless rabbits in New York's Hudson River Valley. They divide their time between NYC, the Adirondacks, and visiting their grandchildren. Linda's favorite non-writing-related activities include swimming and ice cream eating.