Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Passover Book Series: Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls [GIVEAWAY]

We speak to Linda Glaser, author of the inspiring book that teaches kids about community, family, and tradition

By: Daniel Koren

Published: April 15th, 2014 in Culture » Books » News

Hag Sameach!

Jews around the world sat with their family, friends and loved ones yesterday to rejoice as a Jewish people and regale at our thousands-year-old history. Most importantly, we shared with our children the stories of our ancestors, we sang together, prayed together, read the Haggadah together, and remembered and paid respects to our heritage.

Of course, children often often relate to what they find interesting, and what’s fun and engaging for them.

That’s why we at ShalomLife have embarked on a Passover Children’s Book Series for parents looking to engage and teach their children about the Story of Passover. Over the past five days, we’ve looked over various children’s books which include a Passover theme, 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 author Linda Glaser are pleased to offer a free copy of Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls 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: Stone Soup. Hag Sameach!

Also, check out other children’s books highlighted in our Passover Book Series, including Frogs in the Bed, Seder in the Desert, Max Makes A Cake, and The Littlest Levine.

Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls is an inspirational story that teaches children about the power of community, sharing, philanthropy, and chutzpah. The values learned are equivalent to values that are taught throughout the Torah, and are essential in shaping the minds of our young ones. The story follows an old man who walks into the town of Chelm asking for food. After the townspeople inform him that they have none, the man retorts that he can make enough food for everyone, all with a simple stone. Watching him cook a delicious matzoh ball soup, the man asks for a single ingredient, then another, and another. Soon enough, the entire town are sitting together, having unknowingly contributed to making a Seder feast for all to share.

I caught up with the author of the book, Linda Glaser on her wholehearted story.

ShalomLife: How is the story of Passover explained throughout Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls?

Linda Glaser: Actually, my book illuminates two of the primary teachings of Passover: “All who are hungry, come and eat” and “Be kind to the stranger as we were once strangers in Egypt.” These are teachings that all children can understand and relate to. I was delighted at how easily and naturally they wove into Stone Soup With Matzoh Balls as an intrinsic part of the story, along with plenty of humor and playfulness, of course.

ShalomLife: How were you inspired to create this story?

Linda Glaser: As you probably know, Chelm holds a beloved place in Jewish folklore. In my own family, even after we were grown, we’d beg my mother to read stories of Chelm to us when we were together. And we’d laugh at the pure silliness even though we’d heard the stories many times before. So, naturally, I wanted to share that laughter and delight by creating my own story of Chelm for today’s children. I’ve also loved the traditional story of Stone Soup. I was surprised to learn it’s found in many cultures. I guess the message of sharing our food and taking care of the stranger is one that crosses cultural boundaries.

As with so many story ideas, the different influences percolated for quite a while. And in this case, one day around Passover, the story came to me. Stone Soup With Matzoh Balls! A Passover story in Chelm. Yes! All the elements fit together perfectly. It was a pure pleasure to put it on paper. As I wrote, I loved imagining families reading the book and laughing together.

ShalomLife: We already teach kids about Passover in school, at the Seder, with our Haggadah. What does Stone Soup teach them that’s different?

Linda Glaser: We all love a good story. This particular one brings a slice of Passover to life. It’s entertaining but there are also those deeper Passover messages, “Be kind to the stranger” and “All who are hungry come and eat.” Who wouldn’t want to share that with their children?

ShalomLife: How does Stone Soup teach about the Book of Exodus and the Passover story?

Linda Glaser: I hope that Stone Soup With Matzoh Balls will get children thinking about some of the reasons why we celebrate Passover–the idea of being kind to the stranger and doing our part to help those who are hungry. I also hope children will want to hear the story again and again – for pure enjoyment.


Glaser’s words resonated with me long after our conversation. Her words hold a certain meaningfulness to them. After all, if we don’t teach our children about sharing, about doing good deeds, about being kind to strangers and to one another, then where are we supposed to learn it from? An absolutely wonderful story with a strong educational foundation to end our 2014 Passover Book Series. Ideal to be read during Passover, or any day of the year.

To win a free copy of Stone Soup (part of the PJ Library Book Selection), follow the guidelines above. To purchase a copy, visit Amazon or Albert Whitman & Company.

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