Oskar And The Eight Blessings (Richard Simon & Tanya Simon)

Hello, friends! In honor of the second night of Hanukkah, our book today is Oskar And The Eight Blessings, written by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon, and illustrated by Mark Siegel.

Oskar’s mother and father believe in blessings, and so does Oskar. But in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, Oskar finds himself a refugee, separated from his parents and sailing toward America, a city he’s never been to, and an aunt he’s never met. His father’s final words to him give him strength: “Oskar, even in bad times, people can be good. You have to look for the blessings.” When Oskar arrives in New York, it is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, and Oskar must walk 100 blocks up Broadway to his aunt’s home. A very small boy in a city so big; it’s a daunting journey. But perhaps Oskar’s father was right – perhaps, if he looks for the blessings, he will find the kindness of good people all around.

Absolutely beautiful. These was not a page in this story that did not inspire hope, generosity, empathy, or good will. Oskar’s simple kindnesses, both given and received, are an inspiration to readers young and old to remember that even small gestures can lesson someone’s troubles immeasurably. With the historical context, it also serves as a poignant reminder that we should be a people and a land that welcomes and shelters those in need, especially children. The graphic-novel-inspired art is a perfect balance between the real and the fantastic, building a winter city of promise and hope. The length is great, and JJ and I both loved it. A magical story of the true spirit of the holiday season: that all people can be connected through the magic of blessings. Baby Bookworm approved!

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