Friday, June 1, 2012

Recommended Picture Book: Too Young for Yiddish

Title: Too Young for Yiddish

Author: Richard Michelson

Illustrator: Neil Waldman

Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing; February 1, 2002

Suitable for:  6 and up

Themes/Topics: People & Cultures: Jews, Language: Yiddish, Grandfather & Grandsons, Preserving heritage and language,

All afternoon, Aaron helped carry-or shlep, as his grandpa, Zayde, called it-boxes of books up the apartment-house staris.

Book Summary:
When Aaron is a small boy, his Grandpa, or Zayde, does not teach him Yiddish, but when Aaron becomes an adult he longs to learn the language and history of the Old Country from Zayde and his many books.

Links to resources:
The author provides a brief history of the Yiddish language and a glossary of words at the end of the book. These words can be turned into word searches, flash cards and more.

Why I like this book:
This is a great book that teaches the importance of preserving languages and cultures. I find many young people these days (myself included) do not speak their mother or father tongue (my dad’s language being Amharic). For whatever reason many parents and grandparents have for not passing on their history and language, I think in the end it does the youth a dis-service not knowing their past and the rich heritage, history, traditions and respect that comes with knowing the language of the “Old Country” whether that country is in Africa, Asia or Europe. Language is a part of knowing who you are and where you come from. I am happy that in the end, Aaron sees the importance and chooses to teach his son Yiddish while he is still young. While this book is in English, it is unique in its representation of the Yiddish language. It is bounded back to front the same way Yiddish books are printed. While it was not an uncommon experience for me, as the Qur’an, the Muslim’s holy book, is printed the same way, it was fun to read an English book printed in that format. 

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