This is an early chapter book with some simple black-and-white illustration suitable for children aged seven and eight.
In The Passover Surprise, a brother, John, and sister, Lisa, compete to win a special stamp collecting book from their father. In order to prove their worthiness, they both work hard hour after hour on their stamp collections while their father assesses their commitment. In the end, the father gives the stamp book to the boy reasoning that he put in equal effort but he is younger child. Lisa is devastated and feels the decision was unfair. After a conversation with her mother, Lisa decides to approach her father and discuss her feelings. Her teacher also coaches her in how to handle this discussion. The father is completely understanding and says, “When I was young, only the boys in my family collected stamps. I didn’t realize that the album meant so much to you.” Even though the family is struggling to make a payment on their house, father manages to give his daughter a new stamp as well during Passover.
This is a good story on perspective. The daughter felt the father was unfair and sexist. Father thought he was making a fair and informed decision. Because the father was kind and receptive, the problem was resolved happily.
There is an explanation of Passover and Seder, a short discussion on discrimination against African American soldiers in the Second World War, and sharing of family history.
This would be a good book for Sunday school or other values teaching. Children will connect with Lisa and find helpful advice on how to approach difficult discussions with their own parents.
A copy of this book was generously donated by the author to my Little Free Library.
An interview with the author will appear on this blog on January 25, 2016.