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Abuelita's Secret Matzahs Paperback – March 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clerisy Press (March 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1578601770
  • ISBN-13: 978-1578601776
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 11.5 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #615,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Jacobo loves to visit his grandmother in Santa Fe, especially at Easter, when they hunt for eggs and go to church. After making friends with David, a Jewish boy, and attending a family Passover seder, Jacobo notices similarities to things his grandmother does--for example, she doesn't eat pork. Abuelita tells him that "long ago" his Jewish family escaped the Spanish Inquisition, and fearing persecution in America, they kept their Jewish identity secret, choosing to pass on their family history to just one person in each generation--as Abuelita is doing to Jacobo. It may be hard for the picture-book audience to imagine fifteenth-century Spain, but the connection with Passover brings home the persecution story, and Bryer's pastel folk-art pictures nicely connect the exodus from Egypt with that from Spain and with the loving family in New Mexico now. Parents and kids can talk about the Sephardic history and the identity issues. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An outstanding example of children's literature. The characters are wonderfully written and it is beautifully illustrated." -- Winner, 2006 Best Books of Indiana competition

More About the Author

Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is the author of several nationally acclaimed children's books, including God's Paintbrush, Adam and Eve's First Sunset and In God's Name. Publisher's Weekly selected two of her books, But God Remembered and Noah's Wife; The Story of Na'amah as Best Books of the Year. Abuelita's Secret Matzahs is the winner of the 2005 Sugarman Family Children's Book Award and the 2006 Best Books of Indiana Award. A book for adults, Midrash: Reading the Bible with Question Marks, has been issued in paperback in 2013. She is the 2004 recipient of the Helen Keating Ott Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature. The Shemah in the Mezuzah won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for Best Illustrated Children's Book. She co-edited the Winter 2014 CCAR Journal entitled, A Symposium on Sacred Teaching and Spiritual Learning. Her latest book is Creation'sFirst Light. She is currently the Director of the Religion, Spirituality and the Arts Initiative at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on March 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
Abuelita (grandma) is descended from "crypto Jews" in New Mexico, people who hid their religion in the 15th and 16th Centuries when they left Spain for Mexico and the new Mexican territories. When her grandson, Jacobo, comes to visit around Easter time, he learns about her avoidance of pork and the secret flat tortillas (no yeast) she traditionally eats at this Springtime religious festival. Peculiar? Then Jacobo meets and plays with David. David's family also eats flat bread, lights candles on Friday night, and avoids pork. They are Jewish and celebrate Passover, not Easter. Jacobo, like David, asks a lot of questions. But unlike at a seder, there is no Ha Lachman Anya... abuelita keeps quiet. But after continued question, abuelita relents and tells him the story of hidden Jews. A lovely multicultural and historical story. The book ends with a recipe for Jacobo's favorite Sopa (although it is not a Passover soup since it uses leavened bread)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on September 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Jacobo's grandmother has a secret: she does things differently than his friends, never making his favorite sopaipillas with honey during Holy Week and celebrating some holidays differently. "It's the way of our family," she will only say when Jacobo asks her about the tortillas made without year - until one day she shares a family secret about their real heritage. Good reading skills will lend appreciation to this sensitive story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Contrary to what another reviewer said, this book is about accepting and treasuring your family's heritage, not hating or hiding it. Crypto Jews represent a real chapter in Jewish history, and their story has not often been told.

This book is also a great choice for mixed-religion families; it sensitively portrays the choice Jacobo will face as he gets older and has to choose his own religious path, and it does so without a bias toward either Judaism or Christianity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Janie Grackin on March 16, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Thank you Sandy Sasso for another wonderful story for our children, and especially for those of us with Sephardic roots who have been left out of the conversation for so long. This lovely story reflects the emerging population of Conversos living in the Southwest and brings to light the conflicting traditions that have been buried for many generations. It also serves well our multicultural population, the foundation of America.
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