Archive for September, 2011

Apples Dipped in Honey for Rosh Hashanah

In one week, we will be celebrating the beginning of a new Jewish year. For many years,  my family has welcomed in the New Year using the “Home Service for Rosh Hashanah”  found in All About Rosh Hashanah by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler, Illustrated by Bonnie Gordon Lucas. ©1997 Kar-Ben Publishing. We light the candles, say the blessing over the wine, bless the round challah and then dip a slice of apple into honey and say the blessing for a sweet New Year. After all that, we begin our holiday meal.

As I think about preparing for this tradition, however, I am reminded that bees are in trouble all over the world.  What if there was no honey for us to dip our apples in? Several new books have been published recently to warn of the bees’ plight and seek everyone’s help in looking out for them.


What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year by Allison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern. ©2011. Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 4-9.  In this companion book to Harvest of Light and Sukkot Treasure Hunt, the author and photographer take us on a visit to the Dvorat Havator Bee Farm and Education Center in Israel to learn how bees collect pollen to make honey and to see how it is processed into the food we eat.

The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing? by Shelley Rotner & Anne Woodhull. Photographs by Shelley Rotner.  ©2010. Ages 6-10. Holiday House, Inc. In 2006, Dave Hackenburg, a professional beekeeper noticed that all of his hundreds of hives were empty. The bees were not dead, they had disappeared.  This fascinating book explains why the vanishing of bees would be a terrible thing for the world. Bees do more than simply produce honey, they pollinate “one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat.” That makes bees a pretty important insect.


The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns. Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. ©2010. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children.  Ages 8-12. This captivating book, part of the Scientists in the Field Series, delves deeply into the disappearance of bees around the world and the scientific search into the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). You will be reintroduced to Dave Hackenburg, the professional beekeeper who first discovered this frightening problem and to the beekeepers, farmers, scientists and the many others who are pursuing the various leads to the potential causes of the problem.


Honey: A Gift from Nature by Yumiko Fujiwara. Illustrated by Hideko Ise. ©2006. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, Inc.  Ages 3-6. This book, for the very young, looks at bees and how they make the honey we love so much. The language is simple and direct. The illustrations are beautiful and take on the colors of each season being discussed – the greens of spring, the warm yellows of summer, the autumn golds and reds, the greys of winter.  Because it was published before its discovery, this book does not go into the bee problem.  Nevertheless, for the very young, this is a perfect introduction to the wonders of how honey is made.

And with all of this honey, we should have some apples to dip it in, right?

One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert. Illustrated by Karla Gudeon.  ©2009. Blue Apple Books.  Ages 3-8.  Using simple language, this charming book takes us on a journey from picking apples to eating, to leaving some apples for the birds. Seeds fall, a tree grows – with a pull out page – and the cycle begins again. Karla Gudeon’s paintings are bright, bold, colorful and attractive.  Pair this book with What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year or Honey: a Gift from Nature and you will have a lovely read-aloud time with your family for the New Year.

Wishing you and yours a sweet, healthy and book-filled New Year.  L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
Books used in this review came from my own collection, my local public library or the publisher as a review copy.
I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my web site and purchase it from Amazon,

I may receive a very small commission on your purchase.

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The September Jewish Book Carnival

forwordsbooks is thrilled to be hosting this month’s Jewish Book Carnival, a gathering of blogs about Jewish books and other happenings in the Jewish world.  Please visit this month’s participants and comment on their web sites making sure you tell them you saw their post at the September Jewish Book Carnival.

Would you like to get to know more about the authors who write your favorite books?  Or perhaps you are looking for a little background music while you read? Check out these fantastic websites:

Listen to The Book of Life’s newest podcast episode featuring Sarah Darer Littman talking about her novel Life, After, a 2011 Sydney Taylor Honor Book for teens. Her novels are always brave, taking on subjects that others might fear to talk about.

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah: The Writer’s Resource for Jewish-Themed Children’s Books provides a very special look inside the book with an Author-Agent-Editor Three-in-one Special Notebook about OyMG byAmy Fellner Dominy

Jewish Book Council’s Intern, Alyssa Berlin, discusses the trend in “Reading with Soundtracks.” This is an awesome look at the connection between books and music. Be sure you have your MP3 player and ear buds on hand.


Erika Dreifus shares a Q&A with author Anna Solomon about THE LITTLE BRIDE, Solomon’s new historical novel featuring a Jewish mail-order bride who travels from Odessa and lands in South Dakota.

With so many new books to choose from each month, it is wonderful to have dedicated reviewers to let us know about the best of the bunch.

Amy Meltzer at Homeshuling: A Jewish Parenting Blog provides an excellent review of the new Kar-Ben book, Joseph and the Sabbath Fish by Eric Kimmel in her blog Joseph and the Sabbath Fish, or I Love Eric Kimmel, Part Two.

Barbara Krasner at The Whole Megillah: The Writer’s Resource for Jewish-Themed Children’s Books reviews  OyMG by Amy Fellner Dominy

BostonBibliophile is taking the Art of the Novella Reading Challenge.  Read the review of her third novella, Stempenyu: A Jewish Romance by Sholem Aleichem, and follow her progress toward her goal of reading six novellas in 30 days.

Also from the Jewish Book Council, guest blogger Wayne Hoffman (Sweet Like Sugar) offers a Gay Jewish Reading List .

Visit Sylvia Rouss’ website to read her newest book, Jognau, the Dreamer, an original story by Sylvia Rouss and Raoul Wallenberg Prize winner, Ambassador Asher Naim, illustrated by Dawn Phillips.  Ambassador Naim and Sylvia have donated the story to the Scholarship Fund for Ethiopian Jews. Sylvia’s son Jordan, an attorney, and his good friend Geoffrey Bennett, an NPR producer, volunteered to produce and narrate the animated version which you can also see on the site.

Then hop over to Barbara Bietz’s  “Jewish Books for Children with Author Barbara Bietz” for some inside information from Sylvia about how she came to meet Ambassador Asher Naim and subsequently write a book in partnership with him. It is always very interesting how the stars align in writers’ lives.

Jonathan Kirsch reviews Portraits in Literature: The Jews of Poland, An Anthology edited by Hava Bromberg Ben-Zvi, reminding us that while over half the Jewish victims of the Holocaust were Polish Jews, “Poland was the seat of a vibrant and enduring Jewish civilization that survives on the printed page and, in a real sense, in many of our own ideas about what it means to be Jewish.”

Here at forwordsbooks, we kicked off the New Year with “The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far: Honoring One’s Parents/Kibud Av v’Em,” a look at books that support this most difficult of all commandments.

And last but not least, learn how the research can have a bigger impact on the writer than the writing, in this fascinating blog by Linda K. Wertheimer:

In “Visiting Mosques Teaches Countless Lessons, “Jewish Muse blogger Linda K. Wertheimer recounts the lessons she learned when she visited mosques while shadowing middle school students as they learned about world religions. She was surprised at how much she learned along with them.

As always there is much to read, explore and learn from each of these wonderful websites.  Don’t forget to tell them you were here and where you heard about them, if you drop by for a visit. Next month’s Carnival will be hosted at Homeshuling. For more information about the Jewish Book Carnival and a list of all the participants, please visit the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Jewish Book Carnival blog. Thanks for stopping by!

Wishing you a sweet, healthy and book-filled New Year.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my web site and purchase it from Amazon,

I may receive a very small commission on your purchase.

You will incur no additional cost, however.

I appreciate your support.

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