French Toast Sundays
Young Mina experiences shiva, the Jewish mourning ritual, after her grandmother dies, and finds comfort in sharing a very special memory.
2019 Sydney Taylor Notable Picture Book
"Come on down, Mina," said Aunt Jan.
"Staying right here," said Mina.
When Mina's beloved Grandma dies, nothing feels right anymore.
People come to visit. Mina just hides up in the big old oak tree. But the stories she hears about Grandma bring her slowly back down —
until at last Mina feels ready to smile again.
Reviews for French Toast Sundays
"This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of Mina, a little girl who was very close to her grandmother and shared many special times with her. When her grandmother dies, Mina experiences the week of shiva from her perch in her favorite tree. Over the course of seven days, she sees and hears friends and neighbors coming together to help her family go through the mourning process. At first they are very sad, but by the end of the week they are able to tell sweet and funny stories about Grandma—and Mina is ready to abandon her perch and join the group, making French toast for everyone according to Grandma’s secret recipe.
This simple story speaks to children and adults alike. The illustrations are realistic, yet soft and easy to look at. The level of the text makes the book an excellent read-aloud for children ages 4 to 8. The story is particularly appropriate for children who have experienced the loss of a loved one, as it can be a source of gentle comfort."
--Jewish Book Council
"Mina is inconsolable when her beloved grandmother dies, and as people gather in her home to observe Jewish mourning rituals (explained in a brief afterword), she retreats to her favorite branch in the big oak tree next to her home and refuses to come down. But as she overhears family and friends telling stories about Grandma, she realizes that there are wonderful revelations in store for everyone: Grandma’s own children never knew their mother rode a motorcycle “all the way to Brighton Beach,” and Mina finally learns why Grandma always turned down her invitations to join her on the tree branch. Soon, Mina returns to the fold to share her own Grandma “secret”—her mysterious recipe for the perfect French toast they cooked together every Sunday morning (it starts with tying the apron “Not too tight. Not too loose. Just right”). Spielman (Marcel Marceau: Master of Mime) and Bousidan strike a mood of reassuring calm and contemplation: the writer with her measured, direct prose, and the illustrator with crisp lines, soft colors, distilled details, and liberal white space."
-- Publisher's Weekly