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Cakes and Miracles

A Persian Princess

Illustrated by Steliyana Doneva
[Buy This Book]
ISBN: 978-1681155531, Apples & Honey Press, 2020
Reading level: 4-7 years

Raya can't be in the Purim play this year—Purim will be no fun at all! But, Raya's grandmother, Maman joon, shares her sparkly scarves and Persian traditions with her. Together they discover how to make their American Purim uniquely Persian, delicious, and fun.

This children's story features Jewish-Iranian customs for celebrating Purim. Although Jews lived in the area that is now Iran for over 2500 years, the climate changed after 1979, and about two-thirds of the Jewish population of 80,000 left and settled in other countries, including the US.

Q&A with Barbara Diamond Goldin, by Sandra Bornstein 


Reviews

"A Persian Princess introduces early primary children to Persian traditions associated with the celebration of Purim. Barbara Diamond Goldin adeptly intertwines the special love associated with grandmothers with Persian words and customs."

Sandra Bornstein

"With moving text by Goldin, a Sydney Taylor Body-of-Work Award recipient, and lively pictures by Steliyana Doneva, the unique relationship between Persian Jews and the festival of Purim becomes vivid for young readers. Author and illustrator seamlessly blend the history and unique customs of this ancient community with the close bond between a Persian grandmother and her American grandchild....A Persian Princess is highly recommended and includes ‘A Note for Families,’ explaining both the festival and the history of Jews in Persia (modern Iran)."

Jewish Book Council

"A celebration of Purim with an appropriate Persian flavor. Raya is happily baking cookies for Purim with her grandmother, Maman joon. They are called koloocheh and are from the family's Persian Jewish heritage. Unfortunately, Raya is too young to be in the school play, in which her older brother will play Mordecai. Maman joon pauses cooking in order to adjust his costume and beard. She can do even more for her granddaughter, though. In a trunk in her bedroom is a wide assortment of sparkly jewelry and brightly colored scarves just perfect for a little girl who wants to pretend to be Esther. Maman joon has saved them from the time that she lived in Hamadan, a city in Iran. Together, the costumed girl and her grandmother share their baked treats with the neighbors, and Raya explains that she is a 'Persian princess,' just as Esther was. Even better, Raya decides to invite everyone to the house, where she will perform the story of Purim. It is a joyous time, indeed.

"Goldin's sweet story offers readers a celebration of Purim that is both familiar and different to that observed by Ashkenazic Jewry and more commonly seen in U.S. children's books but that can be enjoyed by all. Doneva's delicate cartoon illustrations are suitably colorful and depict a neighborhood of various ethnicities. Family traditions and intergenerational love are strong and endearing in this fresh look at Purim."

—Kirkus Reviews

"A charming, modern Purim story that rekindles the wondrous legacy of Persian Jewry."

—Rabbi David Wolpe, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles

"This enchanting story of a young girl who dresses up for Purim as a proud Persian princess is sure to delight! Like the koloocheh cookies and bright scarves in the story, Goldin presents Persian Jewish life as delicious and wondrous. "

—Rebecca Yousefzadeh Sassouni, President of the Sephardic Heritage Alliance

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