Why We Chose This Book: Bitter and Sweet

A girl sitting on boxes


Children's books can educate and entertain, but they also do much more - they help kids to process their emotions. In this story, Hannah is sad because she's moving away from her friends, school, and community. It's a challenge many kids face - and as Hannah's grandmother explains to her, it's one that many Jews have faced, too, on an even larger scale.

Related: Are You Moving? Here Are Picture Books That Can Help

The history of the Jewish diaspora has both bitter and sweet elements: on the one hand, Jews were persecuted and pushed out of their homes; on the other, one of the results is a diverse, multicultural Jewish community. For Hannah, the stakes are much smaller, but there is overlap. She misses her old home, but now she can expand her world. “Every change has some hard parts and some nice parts,” explains her grandmother. Pretending the hard parts of life aren't there won't help them go away, but finding comfort in tradition, ritual, and even relationships can make facing those obstacles easier.

As Hannah celebrates her first Shabbat in her new home, the familiarity of Jewish rituals helps her settle into her new reality, just as they have for Jews for millennia. The Book Selection Committee loved the message of this gentle story, and we hope that families will find comfort in it as well.