As I write this article, Hurricane Isabel has come and gone; its destructive force headlined the news, offering a strange but appropriate counterpoint to writing about children's books on Sukkot and Simchat Torah. In today's world, these holidays, following on the heels of Yom Kippur, remind us of the swift changes life brings and underscore the fragile nature of our security. Through stories, we can find shelter in the joy of offering hospitality, in helping others, in relishing happiness when we can and in acknowledging human courage and endurance in the face of trouble. These are all themes to explore as you sit, rejoicing with your children and guests, in your sukkah.
A 1998 article about Chicago collector Stephen Durschslag's haggadah collection set the number of different haggadot on his shelves at 4,500, increasing almost daily.
It's probably impossible to know how many haggadot exist, but it's obvious that for every Jew, there should be a haggadah that fits like a glove.
Purim is upon us. Time to stock up on story books to share:
Some years ago, the American Booksellers Association's holiday advertising theme was the phrase: "Give a gift of love; Give a book." Jewish Book Month, scheduled in November, anticipated the gift-giving season. This year, as always, a fresh crop of children's books appeared for the holiday. Consider choosing one of these instead of toys that beep and break: