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Festival of Freedom
Nonfiction Ages 9-12
Pages: 72
Themes: Judaism, Seder, Holocaust, survivors, persecution, history, courage, compassion, generosity, matzo, celebrations
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: 16/Feb/2016
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During Passover, Jews are reminded of how, more than three thousand years ago, their ancestors emerged from slavery to become free men and women. Bestselling author Monique Polak explores her own Jewish roots as she tells the Passover story, which reminds us that the freedom to be who we are and practice our religion, whatever it may be, is a great gift. It also teaches us that if we summon our courage and look out for each other, we can endure and overcome the most challenging circumstances. Enlivened by personal stories, Passover reminds us that we can all endure and overcome the most challenging circumstances.

Passover is the first in a series of books called Orca Origins that will examine ancient traditions kept alive in the modern world. Other books in the series will cover Ramadan, Chinese New Year and Diwali.

"While this title in the Orca Origins series explains the holiday of Passover, it also goes further. In the introduction, Polak remembers her associations with the holiday while growing up in Montreal, mostly through friends’ seders...The sections in which the Holocaust survivors remember is both chilling and moving...Kids’ holiday rituals and personal stories make for an interesting mix. Illustrated with many color photos, this unique take on an ancient holiday should resonate with readers."
Kirkus Reviews
"An overview of the holiday of Passover is elaborated with personal narratives, the story's connection to the Holocaust, and various Seder customs practiced in several countries around the world...A plethora of photographs, informational sidebars, drawings, and recipes break up the substantial yet enlightening text. Good supplementary material to increase the holiday's meaning and currency for older children."
CM Magazine
"Each chapter is detailed with an abundance of information...Personal stories of Holocaust survivors, Ben and Liselotte, add to the appeal and authenticity of this title...A helpful glossary, and a list of references and resources are also included. Passover is the first in a series of books in the 'Orca Origins' series which will examine 'ancient traditions kept alive in the modern world.'"
Resource Links
"The book is written in a very readable text accompanied by black and white and colour historical and contemporary captioned photographs...A great complement to a study of religious customs and multiculturalism...Highly recommend[ed]."
The Montreal Gazette
"The author does a thorough job of describing the origins of Passover, the intricacies of the seder, and the importance of this event to Jews around the world. She makes it all accessible to middle-grade readers, regardless of their ethnicity, by including the stories of specific individuals (including a couple of elderly Montrealers who survived the Holocaust), focusing on the participation of children in the seder, and including some simple recipes. The result is a lively read, illustrated with many photos."
Jewish Journal
"Poignant...A glossary as well as an excellent reference and resource guide round out the book."
Tri State Young Adult Book Review
"A fascinating look into the celebration of the Passover holiday...Insightful."
The Canadian Jewish News
"With numerous sidebars, photographs, recipes, drawings and short facts, the book...is bound to teach youngsters and adults alike how important it is to celebrate the holiday in their own way."
School Library Connection
"Learn about Passover in this informative nonfiction book...recommended."
Jewish Book Council
"A must-have title, whether readers are already knowledgeable about the holiday's history and rituals or learning about them for the first time...Highly recommended for all ages."
Canadian Children's Booknews
"With her convivial, chatty writing style, the material is easily absorbed, and the richness of the culture and festival shine through. Facts are augmented and enriched by the narratives of many participants...Undoubtedly, the book will encourage much discussion and sharing of religious traditions and will be a welcome and highly readable addition to various library collections."


CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens  | 2016 | Commended


This book has a dedicated website. Learn more and view images at www.orcaorigins.com

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