Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Passover Book Series: Max Makes A Cake [GIVEAWAY]

On Day 3 of our Passover Children’s Book giveaway series, we speak to Michelle Edwards, author of the adorable and engaging kid’s book

By: Daniel Koren

Published: April 11th, 2014 in Culture » Books » News

Passover is almost upon us!

The sacred holiday begins April 14th, and involves more than just spring cleaning. It’s a time to share with family, friends and loved ones, to rejoice as a Jewish people, to regale at our thousands-year-old history. More importantly, it’s a time to share with our children the stories of our ancestors, to sing, to pray, and to remember and pay respects to our heritage. Though there are several interpretations of the Haggadah, children often relate to what they find interesting, and what’s fun and engaging for them.

That’s why we at ShalomLife are embarking on a Passover giveaway series for parents looking to engage and teach their children about the Story of Passover. For the next five days, we’ll be giving away a children’s book on Passover so that your kids can learn about their Jewish heritage, and in turn, teach their children, who will in turn, teach their children. The circle of life continues.

GIVEAWAY: As part of the Passover Giveaway, ShalomLife and Random House are pleased to offer a free copy of Max makes a Cake to ONE lucky winner. To enter, share this story via Facebook and/or Twitter and like Shalom Life on Facebook. Then send an email to contests@shalomlife.com with the headline: Max Makes a Cake. Hag Sameach!

Make sure to check back here tomorrow as we continue with our Passover Giveaway series.

Speaking on levels with engagement, when it comes to young children, reading the Haggadah to them isn’t most often the most practical way of teaching them about Passover. Kids ages 3 – 5 don’t know who Moses or Ramesses are yet, and rather than cramming it down their throats, it’s often a more viable solution to subtly teach them about the Exodus story, little by little. You start with music, with the Four Questions, with matzoh. Another great way to introduce it to them is with stories made and tailored specifically to them.

Enter Max Makes A Cake, a story published by Random House and written by mother of three, Michelle Edwards. I had a chance to speak to Edwards who gave me a brief synopsis of the book. “It’s what I’d call an everyday story,” Edwards begins, “about a little who boy who knows how to say the Four Questions, and taking place on the first day of Passover. It’s his mother’s birthday so he wants to make a cake for her with his father, so they get a special Passover cake mix.”

The story proceeds with Max’s younger sister Trudy, who is still a baby and doesn’t want to go to sleep, taking up all of his father’s time. So Max, after experimenting with cream cheese and jam on matzoh (great combo) gets a great idea and decides to build a cake of his own.

Edwards notes that while the story is centered around the holiday of Passover, it focuses specifically on Max, one that young children can relate to. “It’s a story that captures children, and a story they can see themselves in,” Edwards explains. “I have three daughters, and when they were young they never saw themselves in books. They’d fall in love with characters like Madeline, and there would be this ‘a-ha’ moment when they discovered she celebrated Christmas. I always wanted to give kids a medium whether the characters happened to be Jewish like them.”

As Edwards notes, she had plenty of practice, with three children close in age. “I was a keen observer of what they did, and I identified with them. I can still remember being a child,” she says with a laugh.

Edwards notes that Max Makes A Cake subtly engages kids to learn about Passover. “In the very beginning of the story, Max knows the Four Questions by himself, and since Max’s little sister is a baby, she can’t do it yet, even though she’s the youngest. Max says to her, ‘when you’re bigger, you’ll have to know the Four Questions too.’ It’s very much in the way that kids talk to each other.”

Max Makes A Cake is also an official selection by PJ Library. A perfect book for 5-year-old’s that younger kids can also go for. Follow the guidelines above for your chance to win a free copy, or purchase it via Random House or Amazon.

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