Book Review | The Secret Shofar of Barcelona
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene

Score: 4

Illustrated by Doug Chayka.

© 2009, KarBen Publishing.

The author looks to a Sephardic legend for this well-written story about a Spanish converso (secret Jew) who cleverly enables his secret community of Jews to hear the sound of the shofar at Rosh Hashanah. Set in Barcelona, during the Spanish Inquisition, Ms. Greene creates a story that makes it possible for us to feel the tension, sadness and fear within the underground Jewish community.  She allows us to celebrate with great relief when father and son triumph over the Duke and the judges of the Inquisition by “hiding the shofar in plain sight.”

The illustrations are excellent and convey the depth of emotions that run from page to page throughout this story. The pictures are very expressive and admirably portray the Spanish community of the times.  This would be an excellent addition to the High Holiday section of the library especially in communities with a Sephardic Jewish population.

Grade Range: 1st – 4th Grades

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