Rebeka Simhaee’s Sara Finds a Mitzva offers a beautifully told lesson on the Jewish value of returning lost objects. When Sara finds a toy duck, she’s tempted to keep it - until her bubby (grandmother) explains that returning a lost object to its owner is a mitzvah, which literally means “commandment” in Hebrew but is often understood to mean a good deed.
The Book Selection Committee admired the clever way in which Sara and her bubby follow clues to find the duck’s owner, taking the reader on a journey and teaching along the way. But what we loved most about this book was its ability to appeal to a wide variety of audiences. Michael Weber’s detailed crosshatch illustrations invite readers to stroll through a bustling inner-city Jewish neighborhood. Readers who have never visited an Orthodox neighborhood will enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the Orthodox experience, while readers who live in communities like Sara’s will appreciate the book’s thoughtful depiction of their everyday lives. All children will be able to empathize with Sara’s desire to keep her newly found treasure, as well as the satisfaction that comes from returning a lost object to its owner. We hope families will love this book as much as we do.
August 4, 2019