Author: Allison Ofanansky
Illustrator: Rotem Teplow
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Miriam, a young Jewish girl, and her family live in Fès in Morocco. She is looking forward to their annual Mimouna celebration to mark the end of Passover. Having cleared out all the flour in the house to celebrate Passover, Miriam wonders where, in the evening, one finds flour. In response, her mother hands her a jar of fig jam and they walk over to their Muslim neighbor’s home, where they are invited for tea.
The house next door also has a little girl Jasmine, about Miriam’s age. The kids are shy, and watch each other as their mothers chat. Miriam and her mother part having exchanged the jam and flour, and invited Jasmine and her family to celebrate Mimouna with them.
The party is lovely, crowned by the moufleta Miriam’s mom makes, and the girls are spent by the end of the evening. Jasmine invites Miriam and her family to join them for Iftar, the daily breaking of the Ramadan fast, but Miriam’s mom points out that they may not be in Morocco, but in Jerusalem by then.
This story was nostalgic and sweet. Growing up in Kenya going to everyone’s houses when they were celebrating a holiday, not of your faith, was a particularly fun thing! I remember celebrating Eid, Vaisakhi, and Christmas, with our Muslim, Sikh, and Christian friends, and in turn, having them celebrate Diwali and various other holidays with us. It was a great reminder that for centuries Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, etc. have lived as neighbors in harmony.
The illustrations in this book are lush and evocative. A great place to talk about the cultural similarities shared by communities that can be seemingly very different! The imagery of Fez at night is so pretty.
The book concludes with an explanation of the origins of Mimouna. For those unfamiliar, Mimouna is a relatively new Jewish tradition that started among the North African Jewish community about 250 years ago. It is now being celebrated by Jewish communities around the world. Recipe for Moufleta included!
My thanks to Groundwood Books for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
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