Review: Awe-Some Days: Poems about the Jewish Holidays

Awe-Some Days: Poems About the Jewish Holidays

by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

Dial Books (imprint of Penguin Random House), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Dina Herbert

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Awe-Some Days is a collection of short, delightful poems about each of the major and minor holidays of the Jewish year, with accompanying text explanations. The poems and text provide helpful history and traditions for the holidays. The book follows a white-presenting family celebrating with extended family and friends at synagogue and school. Celebrants include diverse faces and abilities.

The narrator of the poems, one of the children, also compares notes with cousins in Israel for holidays: Tu B’Shevat has almond blossoms in Israel, while it’s still cold in United States; the cousins trade pictures of flags on their respective Independence Days; the narrator learns that during Lag B’Omer they shoot bows and arrows in Israel. It’s a lovely connection, and relatable for readers who may have family and friends in Israel or other countries.

This books captures the important events of the Jewish calendar and introduces young children and their families to all the holidays with a fun patter that children will appreciate.
Illustration Editor Dena Bach adds: The choice to follow one family throughout the holidays of the year is enhanced by illustrator Dana Wulfekotte's many full, two-page spreads of members of the family at home, at the synagogue, and at school that invite the reader to fully enter places that may be familiar to them. Wulfekotte fills each scene with Jewish objects for the reader to find, highlighting the special details that can be found in a Jewish house and a Jewish life.
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Reviewer Dina Herbert is a librarian for the federal government. She is a past president of the Association of Jewish Libraries and an avid reader. She lives in Northern Virginia with her spouse and two small, well read children.