To engage modern day children and teach them about core Jewish values takes a creative children's author — and it takes one to know one.
Amy Meltzer is author of A Mezuzah on the Door, a "Dates & Almonds" (4 to 5 years-old) group selection from PJ Library, and blogger.
With an eye on Purim this week, Meltzer uses her blog, Homeshuling, to introduce us to another PJ Library selection author, Eric Kimmel, who penned The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale (sent to our 8-years and older reading group).
As an insightful writer of children's literature, Meltzer is able to cultivate with Kimmel a thoughtful conversation about Torah learning through storytelling.
According to Kimmel, the story of Esther and Purim needed to be reinterpreted for a child audience. "You grow up with the story of Esther and Purim," he tells Meltzer. "It's a lot of fun, but it's a very problematical text. It's not really a children's story — it's full of sex and violence."
With The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale, Kimmel decided to make some "improvements" to the traditional story. Meltzer pressed him a little to explain his rationale.
"You know what I'm doing?" he says. "I'm writing modern midrash. Because midrash continues to the present day." He adds, "I want children to learn that the stories of the Torah are great stories."
>> Read Meltzer's full interview on Homeshuling
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March 17, 2011