Thursday, June 26, 2008

Children's Book Review: The Friday Nights of Nana

The Friday Nights of Nana. Amy Hest illus. Claire A. Nivola. Cambridge: Candlewick Press, 2001.

Through windows of The Friday Nights of Nana, young Jennie narrates the story of treasured time with her grandmother preparing for the Sabbath. After tea and their favorite bread with “sweet peach jam,” they begin their preparations for the day, tidying, ironing, baking, and polishing while they talk. They eat and dance in the park over lunch, returning home with the finishing touch of flowers for the table. In their matching navy blue dresses, Nana and Jennie welcome the family with hugs. They all gather round as Nana lights the candles for Sabbath. With snow falling outside, the warmth of family fills these pages as they fill the seat around the dinner table for barley soup, challah, chicken, potatoes, and pie on a Friday night with Nana.

This Sabbath tale conveys a story of a Jewish grandmother sharing culture and tradition with her granddaughter, capturing the universality a child’s treasured times with a grandparent. Energetic text couples with illustrations of watercolor, pen and ink, boarded with white for glimpses into Jennie and Nana’s moments throughout the day. Regular double-page spreads offer a panoramic view. Ages 4-6.

Reviewed by Charity Leonette, Special Services Coordinator, Allegheny County Library Association. This review was printed in The Journal of Intergenerational Relationships, Vo. 6(2) 2008. Available online at

No comments:

Post a Comment