Review: On All Other Nights: A Passover Celebration in 14 Stories

On All Other Nights: A Passover Celebration in 14 Stories

edited by Chris Baron, Joshua S. Levy, & Naomi Milliner

Amulet Books (imprint of Abrams), 2024

Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Lisa Trank

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On All Other Nights: A Celebration of Passover in 14 Stories is exactly that - celebration of the many ways we celebrate, challenge, question, and find humor and deeper meanings in our shared traditions. The stories are organized as if we are sitting around the same Passover table (if only!), with each story representing a step of the seder and offering a brief lesson, as well as asking thought-provoking questions. I can imagine families supplementing (or even replacing) their Haggadot with this special collection. I know our family will.

Written by a remarkable line-up of contemporary Jewish children's literature luminaries, each story presents a unique aspect about Passover. The entries are diverse, surprising, and universal. To name only a few of the gems - Mari Lowe's opening story "Breaking Bread at the Seder," is a touching, familiar, and funny take on one family's chametz-scapade. R.M. Romero offers a Jewish Cuban immigrant fantasy, "The Truth About Mermaids." Chris Baron's tender poetry, "The Great Handwashing Machine," is about the importance of preserving memories. Each tale reflects the richness that is present in Jewish children's literature. The Jewish content is authentic, diverse, and originally presented and will appeal to Jewish readers and non-Jewish readers alike. The volume presents an ancient tradition in a refreshing and unique way.

At a time when so many of our Jewish creators are experiencing collective and individual acts of silencing and antisemitism, On All Other Nights is a welcome and deeply creative reminder of Jewish Joy. As the dedication generously offers:

"To you.
If you read these stories, it would be enough.
We hope you write your own, too."

On All Other Nights is a must-read. Thank you to all the talented writers who so generously offered their talents!

Editor's Note: This book was included on the Association of Jewish Libraries' Spring 2024 Holiday Highlights list.

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Reviewer Lisa Trank is a Longmont, Colorado based children's storyteller and performer with a focus on Jewish-themed stories, articles, and profiles. She is a member of SCBWI.