Shanghai Sukkah

Heidi Smith Hyde, illus. by Jing Jing Tsong. Kar-Ben, $7.99 paper (32p) ISBN 978-1-4677-3475-2
As she did in Elan, Son of Two Peoples (2014), Hyde explores how Jewish traditions thrived in another cultural context, in this case the struggles and successes of European Jews who immigrated to China ahead of WWII. Although "Shanghai was nothing like Berlin," a boy named Marcus slowly adjusts to his new home, finding support in fellow young immigrants and a new Chinese friend, Liang. Liang points out that the approaching Moon Festival celebrates the harvest like the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, and lanterns from the festival eventually decorate the rooftop sukkah that Marcus and his friends build from bamboo. Rendered in an urban palette of pale grays and browns, Tsong's (A Bucket of Blessings) crisp digital collages come alive during the Moon Festival as a dragon races down the street during a parade and orange lanterns cast a warm glow on the night streets. Themes of friendship and perseverance come through strongly, and an afterword offers intriguing background information about (and archival photos of) the Jewish immigration to China. "During a time when most countries looked the other way," writes Hyde," China offered a haven." Ages 5–9. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 08/01/2015
Genre: Children's
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-4677-3474-5
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