Why We Chose This Book: ¿Dónde está Shmata?

¿Dónde está Shmata?

Have you ever lost your favorite thing? Maybe a stuffed animal or a special toy? If so, you will know why the little girl in ¿Dónde está Shmata? is on the hunt for her shmata (Yiddish for “rag”). The soft, grey blanket her bubbe (Yiddish for “grandmother”) knitted for her is much more than just an old rag ― it’s her beloved blankie. This vibrant picture book, set in Latin America, encourages young readers to lift the books flaps to help the young girl look for her lost lovey.

The mitzvah (Hebrew for “commandment” or good deed) of hashavat aveidah, returning lost objects, is so important in Jewish tradition. If we come across a lost object, it is our duty to try to return that item to its rightful owner― and that includes shmatas. The playful rhyme and vivid illustrations caught the eye of our Book Selection Committee, who felt that this book’s emphasis on cooperation and curiosity would inspire our readers to work together to solve problems.