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The Golden Dreidle

Stones for Grandpa, by Renee Londner

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Londner (Ruby’s Whistle) and Avilés (The Shabbat Princess) present a small boy as he observes two of the distinctly Jewish rituals of mourning: the unveiling of his beloved grandfather’s tombstone (which traditionally occurs one year after a death) and the placing of stones on the tombstone by visitors to the grave (“It’s a way of showing that we have been here to remember,” explains the boy’s father). The event prompts melancholy reflection on Jewish holidays that have passed without Grandpa (“It was the first Hanukkah without Grandpa spinning his lucky dreidel”), but the rituals also help the boy understand that “memories made of someone you love never get lost.” Londner handles a difficult topic with great sensitivity and admirable restraint, while Avilés’s verdant scenes at the cemetery are beautifully realized; she reassures children that this sad and even scary setting can be a place of solace and fond celebration.  Paperback, 24 pages, isbn 9780761374961


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