With Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Vali Mintzi
[Buy This Book]
ISBN: 978-1580893749 hardcover, Charlesbridge, 2018
Reading level: Age 10 and up
Old Testament stories center around men. Leaders, prophets, kings, and priests are all male. But hidden in the background are strong-willed, daring females.
Jane Yolen and Barbara Diamond Goldin's masterful retellings pair eloquent profiles with stunning art, answering one question: What makes these women heroes? From the first woman, Eve, to Deborah the judge, to Queen Esther, savior of her people, females in the Hebrew Bible are resourceful and courageous.
Each chapter is devoted to a single story with text complemented by sidebars, known in Jewish tradition as "midrashim," that pose questions, provide more information, and include nondenominational interpretations.
"Two award-winning children's-book authors team up for a more modern, feminist take on stories of girls and women in the Hebrew Bible. In biblical times, wells were the centers of social life for teenage girls—where future husbands and thirsty animals might appear and news and gossip are traded.
"Via 14 stories that range from Eve, the first woman and mother, to Esther, who becomes savior and queen of her people, readers learn about these and other complicated subjects, including marriage, motherhood, infertility, widowhood, and inheritance, as well as female roles and experiences as judge, prophet, and leader. Each chapter offers a story overview identifying female heroism, as well as annotated sidebars anticipating readers' questions, followed by an "Imagine" segment in the character's voice by Goldin and a poem by Yolen.
"The authors demystify the concept of midrash—noncanonical exploration of or commentary on a story or text—empowering readers to consider their own searching examinations of the subjects presented. Most of the commentary is from Jewish sources, but some include commonalities with other faiths, particularly Christianity and Islam. While the presentation is a little staid, this book is solid, well-researched, well-organized, and especially appropriate for young people preparing for or celebrating coming-of-age rituals. A much-needed, thoughtful updating of Bible stories about women that functions as both storytelling experience and classic reference tome."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)