Review: Measuring a Year

Measuring a Year: A Rosh Hashanah Story

by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Zara González Hoang

Abrams Appleseed (imprint of Abrams Books), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer

The concept of measuring a year by what you’ve achieved, rather than the time spent, is not a new one (think “Seasons of Love” from the musical Rent, for starters). But writer Linda Elovitz Marshall and illustrator Zara González Hoang bring it down to a child-appropriate level, with, for example, illustrations of a parent measuring a child on a growth chart and a kid learning to ride a bike. While the subtitle and endpapers reference Rosh Hashanah, the holiday of Rosh Hashanah itself doesn’t make a reappearance until the end of the book. There are, however, other references to Jewish holidays and Jewish family life throughout the illustrations. I appreciated the subtle yet timeless references to the pandemic: a child getting a shot is described as “super brave” and one of the book’s closing lines being “Our lives have changed in many ways.” The the meter is a little tricky in spots, making this book one you might need to practice before reading aloud.

Ed. Note: This book was included in the Association of Jewish Libraries' Fall 2022 Holiday Highlights list for the best Jewish holiday books for children of the fall 2022 publishing season.

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Reviewer Rachel J. Fremmer is a lawyer-turned-elementary-school librarian. She is a native New Yorker and lives there with her husband and two daughters, ages 17 and 14, who are rapidly outgrowing her area of book expertise. She is continually inspired by the city even though apartment living means she is running out of room for her picture book collection. When she is not reading or writing, she loves baking and doing crossword puzzles.