Book Review | Nachshon Who Was Afraid to Swim
by Deborah Bodin Cohen

Score: 4

Illustrated by Jago

© 2009 Kar-Ben Publishing.

A 2009 Sydney Taylor Honor Book. This is a beautifully written midrash about the story of Nachshon, the individual who was the first to step into the waters of the Reed Sea thereby enabling the Jewish People to reach freedom on the other side. Nachshon is portrayed as a brave young man who is not afraid of anything – Egyptian taskmasters, royal courtiers, frogs, locusts – except swimming. Water, it seemed, terrified him. Until the moment when he realizes that in order to reach freedom he must face his fears and step into the water. The language of the book is perfect for youngsters to feel the difficult life of the slaves, their excitement at Moses’ return to the slave village, the fear of Nachshon’s decision to enter into the water. There are many opportunities for discussion here about things children may be afraid of and how they might overcome their fears.

The illustrations are wondrous, sophisticated art in soft colors portraying the desert heat and the cool water. All in all an exceptional book for Passover or Bible story time.

Grade: K-5

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