Written by: Lina Schwarz
Illustrated by: Yong Chen
For ages: 4 years and up
Topics Covered: Family, Love, Religion, Jewish Culture & Traditions, Problem-Solving, Community.
Summary: It is almost Rosh Hashanah and Harry is missing his mother, a talented trumpeter, who is out of town playing a concert. Even more unfortunate is Harry’s father, who always blows the shofar at their synagogue, is sick and can’t play it this year.
When Harry’s mother returns, he gets an idea. She is the one that blows the shofar at their temple to ring in the new year, and Harry thinks maybe it is time for him to start to practice the shofar as well!
This book, much like Sky-High Sukkah is an introduction to a Jewish holiday. It explains the importance of the holiday and the ram’s horn shofar as a significant piece of that. While Harry’s mom is not named in the book and several other adult male characters are, having a female character be able to perform an important honor for the holiday proceedings is a breath of fresh air.
- How do you think Harry feels when his mom is out of town?
- Would you feel proud if one of your family members were so good at doing something that they got invited lots of different places?
- Blowing the shofar at synagogue seems like a very special event, how would you feel if you were asked to do so?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Is there a large Jewish population in your community? If so, the shofar might be a well-known object to you! If so, how can you use your knowledge to help others that might be unfamiliar with Rosh Hashanah? If you’re the unfamiliar one, where can you find out more information?
- Learn about other musical instruments that are used for either holidays or other special occasions. How are they made and when are they used during special events? If possible, take a field trip to a local instrument shop and learn more in-depth about how instruments are made.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Author Lina Schwarz keeps a very low profile online and we can’t find anything out them! If you have any leads, let us know!
Yong Chen is the illustrator for this book! Before Yong Chen immigrated to the United States, he was a high school art instructor and science teacher. After immigrating to the United States in 1989, Yong studied graphic design, painting and illustration in Boston, and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Hartford.
Yong is a published author, illustrator and painter. He has illustrated/authored children’s books and children’s magazines. His oil and watercolor paintings have been exhibited in art galleries and museums both in China and United States. He is also a pioneer of teaching painting using online technology for college students and through his website EnjoyingArt.com.