Sunday, October 17, 2021

My Israel and Me by Alice McGinty + The Rabbi & the Painter by Shoshana Weiss [Review & Giveaway USA]

Kalaniot Books, an imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing, aims to introduce young readers to the rich mosaic of Jewish culture and history with books by Jewish authors and artists from around the world.

My Israel and Me by Alice McGinty and illustrated by Rotem Teplow (ISBN: 978-1-735087535; Hardcover $19.99; Ages 4-11; 32 pages) 

My thoughts:
This sweet book takes the young reader across the tiny land of Israel showing the diversity of peoples and features of the land itself.

I really enjoyed the light poetic story of My Israel and Me as it is told from a child's point of view. Along side the poetic story on facing pages is another storyline. This one is a textual biographic and geographic telling about Israel.

I like the simple story and pictures that this book brings to the young reader. I especially like that there is not a political or specific religious thread or platform espoused. It simply talks about Israel.

I recommend.

About the book: In recent history, Israel’s role in the world’s consciousness has been one of conflict, but over the centuries, millions of people have also traced their history, culture, and religion back to this tiny desert land. The result is a country with an incredible variety of peoples and traditions, and a diaspora that still feels connected to that homeland, thinking of it as “My Israel.”

Told in verse, the book introduces readers to the diversity of Israel’s people from a child’s perspective. Explanatory text sheds light on the varied cultures and traditions that inspire the special connection many feel with “their Israel.” Though coincidental, this book has arrived at a critical time and Kalaniot Books hopes it proves useful to parents and educators in starting thoughtful conversations and sharing their own insights about the complicated feelings surrounding modern day Israel.

The Rabbi and the Painter by Shoshana Weiss, illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham (ISBN: 978-0998852782)

My thoughts: 
 This is an interesting story from the Renaissance time (1500s). Much great art was created during this time period and one of those artists was Tintoretto. 

Commissioned to create a painting for a Venetian Christian church, he began the task of planning, sketching, and painting. 

Some years prior, Tintoretto had met a young Jewish boy and a friendship was formed. During this historic period, the Jews were required by law to live in a ghetto isolated from the rest of the city. However, some were free to come and go. When outside the ghetto they were required to wear a yellow circle on their clothes. And this young boy was outside the ghetto when he made acquaintance with Tintoretto.

Desiring to make his art as authentic as possible, Tintoretto remembered his Jewish friend who was now a Rabbi. He sought him out and they worked together to make the details authentic.

A rare friendship. A rare undertaking to study and work together. 

And a nice story. It might be real and it might just be a story. But it gives children an opportunity to learn of how Jews were made to separate themselves from other peoples. An opportunity to learn of a famous artist who created famous, long lasting works of Christian art. And to gain a vision of diverse people working together toward a common goal.

About the book: Based on stories handed down from the past, this is the tale of a unique relationship between the 16th Century Venetian painter Tintoretto and Rabbi Leon Modena also known as Yahuda Araya.

Both men push at the boundaries of convention. Tintoretto breaks all the artistic rules of the Renaissance with his mannerist painting style while Rabbi Modena's interests extend far beyond the typical confines of the ghetto's synagogue life to the secular world around him.

In The Rabbi and the Painter we are transported to a place where cultures mix to create breathtaking masterpieces.
Begins October 18
Ends November 6 @ 12:01 a.m. EST
Open to USA addresses only.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's books are provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist. Chat With Vera is not responsible for lost or misdirected prizes.


  1. I would like to have Soosie and give a gift of The Candy Man Mystery.

  2. I think it is a good idea to teach children about other religions and nationalities.

  3. One should learn about the beliefs of other religions along with history and literature. These two books would do so wonderfully.

  4. The site is simply lovely. Like the Sara's Solo book. I believe anything can be discussed & taught if people can be logical & factual.


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