For children, September brings shorter days ahead, as the freedom of summer has ended and school has begun. It’s also the time to celebrate the sweetness of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, with apples and honey. In Boulder, as in many other cities, this time of year brings many new families and new kids to town, which tempers the celebrations with special kinds of stresses.
In “Bitter and Sweet,” a stunning storybook by critically-acclaimed author Sandra V. Feder, young Hannah’s life is uprooted when her family moves to another town. At first, Hannah can only feel the loss of her old room and close friends. But by the end of the story, Hannah has a new playmate and has discovered she can create her own happiness along the way.
Having moved many times herself and with her children when they were young, “Bitter and Sweet” is informed by Ms. Feder’s own life experiences. She learned that making friends helps ease the transition for adults as well as children. She also came to understand that each time she moved, she had to invest something of herself in each new community before she really felt a part of it. That lesson was one she hopes she was able to convey in “Bitter and Sweet.”
A BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF “BITTER AND SWEET:”
When Hannah’s family has to move, her grandmother tells her how she felt leaving the old country — it was both bitter and sweet. As Hannah leaves her friends behind and tries to get used to a new house, she only feels bitterness. Was her grandmother wrong about the sweetness? Hannah starts to feel better about the move when she sees her new house in the soft light of the Shabbat candles. When a new friend reaches out with a special gift, Hannah realizes that sweetness can come from unexpected places and she finally feels ready to look for the sweet again.
MORE ABOUT SANDRA V. FEDER:
Author of the acclaimed, “The Moon Inside,” and the popular Daisy series of children’s books, Sandra’s books address universal themes and help children feel empowered through stories that are specific, characters that are genuine, and deeper meanings that are revealed slowly and beautifully.
Sandra has been a volunteer in her children’s schools, in a library, and is a founding team member of a new high school. Sandra, who has worked with children of all ages and their parents, has seen many children struggle with change and hopes her story will help young readers accept change, so that they are better able to cope with the bitter and embrace the sweet.
REVIEWS FOR “BITTER AND SWEET:”
“The story is told through tiny, poignant details.”
Jewish Book Council
“This lovely book introduces children to the meaning of ‘bittersweet’ through the story of a young girl, Hannah, who moves to a new neighborhood.”
“While telling a familiar story about the difficulties of moving, the quietly expressive text offers a clear view of Hannah’s emotions and a hopeful, yet practical perspective on making things better.”