Jewish Values: Abuelita's Secret Matzahs
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Jacobo notices that his grandmother, or abuelita, celebrates Easter a little differently from everyone else: she doesn't serve ham and makes tortillas without yeast. When he asks her why, she answers "It is the way of our family." After Jacobo meets a Jewish child, visits with him, and attends his family's Seder, he sees more similarities between Jewish customs and those practiced by Abuelita. When he presses her for an answer, she reveals the family's long kept secret: their ancestors were Spanish Jews who converted but continued to pass some Jewish practices down through the generations. When Jacobo asks her what he is, Christian or Jewish, she tells him that he will have to decide that for himself as he grows older. The story of crypto Jews is an interesting one and this is intended for young readers who will not yet have read Star of Luis by Talbert or Blood Secret by Lasky. The illustrations are excellent: in a folk art style that extends the Southwestern setting and adds some emotional depth.
Sydney Taylor Winner: