We at PJ Library are often asked how we choose our books. This post is part of a series by the Book Selection Committee, sharing why we chose one of each month’s selections.
The Book Selection Committee may be drawn to a book for a variety of reasons. It might be because it offers a great description of a Jewish holiday, ritual, or tradition. It might be because the book provides a fascinating snippet of Jewish history or some insight into Jewish culture. We’re always attracted to a great story — one that has interesting characters, a compelling plot, maybe even a dramatic twist. The Parakeet Named Dreidel is one of those rare books that has it all.
First, the story is set during Hanukkah, giving context for how the holiday is celebrated in a natural, organic way. It also exemplifies two distinctly Jewish values — the mitzvah (commandment) of tza’ar ba’alei chayim, kindness to animals, as well as the mitzvah of hashavat aveidah, returning lost objects to their owners — and it does so without being the slightest bit preachy or didactic. Best of all, it’s just a good, solid story, filled with sweet detail, rich characters, and a lovely, satisfying ending. Maybe that’s because it’s written by one of the most important and prolific Yiddish writers of the twentieth century, Isaac Bashevis Singer, who was no stranger to the elements of excellent storytelling.
We are excited to send out The Parakeet Named Dreidel and hope PJ readers enjoy it as much as we did.
Did you get this book this month? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this book. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch on Facebook.