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Hope had so much fun offering book reviews to Bookboard readers awhile back that she thought she’d do it again!
This time her focus is on two books in the Bookboard library that helped her learn about other cultures:
Both?titles are from Orca Book Publishers. Some background notes for each book are offered below, but Hope will tell you what you really want to know.
Hope’s review #1: A Sack Full of Feathers?(“4 stars…wait, no, 5 stars!”)
This book teaches kids a good lesson about gossiping. That’s when you tell stories about other people. Like when that boy Yankel gossiped about the baker accidentally putting salt instead of sugar into that sweet bread. So people might hear that gossip story and not buy the bread! That would be bad.
Yankel is an interesting name, huh? I didn’t get why they sometimes called him Yankeleh. Mommy said its a loving way to say his name in Jewish culture. I learned about the bread called “rugelach” – it’s not that hard to say! I didn’t know the word “rabbi.” I think it is a little bit of a complicated story because so many characters have names that sound like other names.
I didn’t understand at first why the rabbi made Yankel put feathers on people’s doorsteps, but then later I understood: his gossip spread all around like the feathers. Now he can’t get the words back!
I wondered why the rabbi only told the kids not to gossip, but not the grown-ups. I think they gossip too.
Hope’s Review #2: ?Secret of the Dance?(“5 stars for sure!”)
I love this book!? Kids can learn about different culture ceremonies like the Potlatch. I learned that the native people wanted to keep doing their thing, so they did it in privacy. They had a ceremony with masks and refreshments and they danced in their costumes.
They went on a boat to the secret island to have their Potlatch ceremony.? The boy was worried they would be stopped and get in trouble with the law, but they weren’t found. It’s kind of scary, but nothing bad happened at the end.
My daddy still has trouble with the Indian words, like he’ll say “bokahnanadah”…I can’t even say how he says it, it’s just wrong!? Oh, and doesn’t ‘Potlatch’ sound like ‘potluck’ where you bring food to work or school?
Anyway, I love this book! I’ve read it six times, so read it you guys!
- Sack Full of Feathers is a retelling of a traditional Jewish folktale. Normally told with an older yenta as the main character, this version tells the story through the eyes of Yankel, a boy who hears and sees partial interactions among shetl residents, then runs to tell friends the incomplete stories. A rabbi uses a sack of feathers to teach Yankel that “gossip spreads like feathers in the wind” and can be hurtful.
- Secret of the Dance?is based on an incident from author Scow’s childhood in the 1930s, when Canadian aboriginals secretly held traditional Potlatch* ceremonies in defiance of an 1885 Canadian law. This put them at risk of losing ceremonial artifacts and even their children, as well as imprisonment. Scow’s grandfather was imprisoned for defying this law. [*”Potlatch” has been defined as the “ceremonial distribution of property and gifts practiced among the American Indians of the Northwest Pacific coast, particularly the Kwakiutl.”]