Why We Chose This Book: The Night World

“Our goal should be to...get up in the morning and look at the world in a way that takes nothing for granted. Everything is phenomenal.”

-- Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Night World book cover

As the Book Selection Committee read Mordicai Gerstein’s The Night World, we quickly fell in love with the book’s stunning illustrations, its quiet drama, and the author’s spot-on portrayal of the thoughts and perceptions of a young child. Above all, we adored the way in which the book encouraged readers to participate in the Jewish value of recognizing and acknowledging nissim she b’chol yom, the wonders of everyday life.

Awakened in the middle of the night by his cat, Sylvie, a young boy creeps out of bed and follows Sylvie into the strange nighttime world of his back yard . As the animals eagerly whisper, “It’s coming,” the boy watches in awe as the shadows of nighttime give way to the glorious colors of dawn.

Gerstein’s glowing illustrations not only inspire readers to play a type of “I Spy” game, seeing how many of the shadowy nighttime creatures they can identify, but his drawings heighten readers’ appreciation for the symphonic wonder of sunrise. We invite families to immerse themselves in The Night World and experience what Rabbi Heschel calls “radical amazement.”


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