January 16, 2019

Purim in the produce section

YeLAdim recently stumbled across an airing of the 2000 “VeggieTales” film “Esther … The Girl Who Became Queen” (Big Idea, $14.99). In one scene, a grape thwarts two peas trying to drop a piano on a pickle. Well, it makes sense if you think back to the story of Purim. Mordechai overhears a plot to assassinate King Ahasuerus (called Xerxes in the movie). Esther’s story translates amazingly well to produce. With funny and thoughtful songs, plus a brief homage to “The Godfather” films, you can enjoy learning about the courageous efforts of a young green onion named Esther. Can she save her people from being banished to the “The Island of Perpetual Tickling” by the wicked fedora-wearing Haman?

Book ‘Em!

Ever feel like being part of something big? Now is your chance. On Monday, March 3, the National Education Association, in partnership with the California Teachers Association, will sponsor Read Across America. The idea is to get kids all over the country, from preschool to 12th grade, excited about the world of books. Events like reading challenges, breakfast read-ins and book drives are all helping to celebrate this year’s theme: “Go Books, Go.”

As a start, check out some of these books by Jewish authors from the list of “Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know” compiled by the California School Library Association:

Preschool to Second Grade: “Hanukkah at Valley Forge” by Stephen Krensky (Dutton, 2006)

Third to Fifth Grade: “Dad, Jackie and Me” by Myron Uhlberg (Peachtree, 2006)

Sixth to Eighth Grade: “Julia’s Kitchen” by Brenda Ferber (Farrar, 2006)

Ninth to 12th Grade: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zuzak (Knopf, 2006)

You can read to a younger sibling or a grandparent; take turns reading a book with a friend — or many friends, or ask a parent, rabbi or teacher to read to you. Remember: Books can take you anywhere you want to go without having to pack a suitcase.

For more information, visit