Thank You: Modeh Ani
Thank you for my toes that tap . . .
my shoulders that shimmy . . .
my mouth that sings.
Thank you for this new day.
We start the day ready to move, to dance, to wiggle, and to sing with joy in this book inspired by the Jewish prayers of gratitude for waking up to a new day. Modeh ani means "thank you," or "I am grateful" in Hebrew. A cheerful introduction to the idea of daily gratitude, prayer and mindfulness for young children.
Sunny illustrations feature a variety of ages, ethnicities, and physical abilities. Includes a note for families that explains the prayers Modeh Ani and Asher Yatzar.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rabbi Alyson Solomon is passionate about Judaism as a vibrant wisdom tradition and believes that spirituality is about askng questions that matter and then living courageously. She is a courage coach, sacred maker, and prayerful poet at www.thisisRAS.com She lives with her daughter in Eugene, Oregon.
ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR
Bryony Clarkson is a collage artist and illustrator from Oxford, UK. She graduated fromt eh Royal College of Art, London, with a degree in textile design and worked as a print and embroidery designer before turnign her focus to ilustration. Visit her at www.bryonyclarkson.com.
The Jewish ritual of reciting the daily morning prayer called “Modeh Ani” is explored for all children as a mindful way to begin each day.
The Hebrew phrase modeh ani translates to “I am grateful.” Solomon takes this concept and applies it to how we can begin each day with gratitude for our health, our strength, and our bodies. “Thank you for this brand-new day. / My whole body is grateful.” Without reference to a deity, children are encouraged to pay attention to parts of their bodies with a simple thank you. “Thank you for my toes that tap. My feet that point.” Each body part is assigned a function or movement, building until kids are happily jumping and dancing across the pages. With a nod to mindfulness, Solomon reminds kids to thank their breath that “goes in and out” and their heart that “beats fast and slow,” making their “whole body…ready for this bright new day.” Collage art presents a delighted group across all races and includes a Muslim girl in a hijab sitting side by side with a Jewish boy in a kippah as well as a brown-skinned, black-haired child in a wheelchair. Several illustrations show the Hebrew lettering for the phrase modeh ani.
A positive, conscious approach to a stress-free morning routine before the day ahead. (author's note) (Picture book. 3-6)
It’s hard to keep still while reading Rabbi Alyson Solomon’s Thank You, Modeh Ani.
This is definitely a book that should be read aloud, with plenty of wiggle room for the child readers to stand, dance, and clap along with the narrative. Solomon’s book is a fine interpretation of Modeh Ani and Asher Yatzar, two prayers that are said upon waking up, that understands the physicality of these prayers that celebrate all the things that the human body can do. A note at the end further explains the prayers and their context and how the reader can incorporate them into their day.
Bryony Taylor’s collage illustrations are lovely and lively and are fully in keeping with the call of the text to wake up and move. Taylor brings all kinds of diversity that are not specified in the narrative, including the differently abled, differences in age, race, body type, religious expression, and even a rainbow or two. An added bonus is the extremely exuberant dog that the child reader can follow through the narrative.
The book is centered around the specific prayer of Modeh Ani, but the positive approach to the Jewish content can work to expand the ideas presented outside of purely a religious context. It is appropriate to the target audience of K-1 in style and format, but this sweet book may be even more appealing to preschool age children who can appreciate the need to start every day by getting up and dancing.
--DENA BACH for SYDNEY TAYLOR SCHMOOZE