The new picture book Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe was brought to my attention by Rachel Kamin and Kathy Bloomfield during the 2016 Association of Jewish Libraries conference in Charleston, SC. They had some major concerns about the message it conveys to young readers, and they were so impassioned about it that I sat down with them to record their conversation. I later contacted author Greg Wolfe to invite his feedback, but to date have received no response.
Rachel Kamin is the Director of the Gray Cultural & Learning Center at North Suburban Synagogue Beth El in Highland Park, IL. She is the Children's and Teens' Book Review Co-Editor for AJL Reviews, and a past Chair of the Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee.
Rachel has left a review of Shmelf on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads. Please read her review and add your own comments at those locations and/or here at The Book of Life.
Rachel reached out to Bloomsbury with her concerns about this book but the only response she received was that they “stand by the book as a celebration of Hanukkah and Jewish culture.”
Kathy's and Rachel's comments are based upon the advance reader's copy received by Rachel in her capacity as AJL Reviews Co-Editor.
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Produced by: Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel
Supported in part by: Association of Jewish Libraries
Theme music: The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band
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