Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is a creative, dependable, and inspiring children's book author. She also is a rabbi and a spiritual teacher who is active in the interfaith community. We have reviewed 13 of her books and are happy to add this sturdy work to the list. It is based on a twelfth century debate about the right way to hang a mezuzah.
Grandmother tells little Annie a story about a controversy which split a town of Jews apart. They could not agree about how to place the mezuzah on the doorpost of a home. Inside this small box are the words of the Shema:
"Listen, Israel, the Eternal our god, the Eternal is One. Speak these words when you go out and when you come in, when you lie down and when you get up."
Some of the people believed that the mezuzah should be lying down on the doorpost while others were convinced that it should be standing up. Each side kept shouting its view until a wise rabbi suggested a compromise. But that would only be possible if everyone stopped disagreeing and began to listen to each other.
This book contains the elegant illustrations of Joani Keller Rothenberg who illustrated Sasso's book Adam and Eve's First Sunset: God's New Day. Both the text and the pictures are designed for children ages 3 to 6. In addition to magnifying the spiritual practice of listening, Sasso wants kids to learn the words of the Shema, the Jewish people's declaration of faith.