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Elijah's Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas Hardcover – October 15, 1992
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A child's vision of religious tolerance is exquisitely played out in this story about an elderly Christian barber and a Jewish child who befriends him. As a hobby, the African American barber makes elaborate woodcarvings--many of which refer to events or characters in the Bible. Michael, a 9-year-old Jewish boy, often visits the barbershop just to admire old Elijah's carvings, especially that of Noah's Ark--a story that belongs to Jewish as well as Christian teachings. One day when Hanukkah and Christmas coincidentally overlap, Elijah gives Michael a special gift, a carved guardian angel. Immediately Michael is filled with a jumble of feelings--gratitude for such a beautiful gift, concern that his parents might disapprove, and an even greater fear that God may frown upon a Christmas angel, "a graven image," in Michael's home. The thick sweeps of paint, the heavy uses of wood-tones, and primitive images make the settings and characters look as though Elijah carved them himself. When Michael finally reveals the carved angel to his parents, they help the young boy understand how expressions of friendship, love, and protection can be carried into any home, regardless of the household's religion. Michael J. Rosen based this story on the real-life Elijah Pierce (1892-1984), a lay minister, barber, and woodcarver from Columbus, Ohio, whose award-winning woodcarvings are now owned by the Columbus Museum of Art. (Click to see a sample spread. Illustration from Elijah's Angel by Michael J. Rosen. Illustrations (c)1992 by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, reproduced by permission of Harcourt Brace & Company.) (Ages 5 and older) --Gail Hudson
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