“Queen Esther: A Bible Story Book” by Tomie dePaola ; a Picture Book of a Biblical Heroine in Time for Purim
Tomie dePaola, winner of The Laura Ingalls Wilder Award from the American Library Association, The Smithson Medal from The Smithsonian, The Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association and also a Caldecott Honor Award in 1976 for “Strega Nona” and a Newbery Award in 2000 for “26 Fairmont Avenue” is one of my favorite people and children’s book authors.
And those awards are just a few of the many.
I think it’s in the designation of his reception of The Regina Medal that best sums up his contribution to children’s literature. The award quotes from Walter de la Mare who was an English poet, short story writer and novelist as he said:
“only the rarest kind of best in anything is good enough for the young .”
And that is just what Tomie dePaola’s picture books have consistently delivered year after year, time after time for decades for young readers…the best in children’s literature, beautifully illustrated and lovingly told.
He has never forgotten what it is like to be a child and he infuses this quality and how it will be received by the heart of a child, and weaves that sense into his tales and stories, both old and new.
And if your young reader thinks there are no heroes or heroines in the Bible, have them read this picture book.
March 9 and 10 celebrates the feast of Purim in the Jewish religion and the person who comes front and center here is the Bible’s Queen Esther.
Just in time for Purim, I urge you to introduce your young reader to the story of a queen named Esther who saves her people, the Jews, from death.
Haman, royal vizier of Ahasuerus, ruler of Persia, plans to do away with the Jewish people out of pure malice.
Mordecai, cousin of Esther, who is Queen of Persia, asks Esther to intercede on behalf of her people.
Esther has not been open about her own identity, and asks for three days of fasting and prayer to ask God’s help, after which time Esther pleads before the king for the lives of her people.
And they are spared.
There are many lessons to be learned here for young readers. Sometimes we are required to be brave, yet full of humility, and above all trustful of God who chooses us to be his instruments in a world that is many times far from just, and can be unfair and downright cruel.
But, as long as we choose to have trust in God, as Esther did, things will right themselves, somehow, in the end.
Miracles do happen.
And as a celebratory time from this saving grace in the time of Queen Esther, came the Feast of Purim which is said to be marked by “feasting and gladness and of sending portions one to another and gifts to the poor.”
We are a world certainly in need of heroes and heroines.
Please allow your young reader to meet a real heroine from the bible during this time of Purim.
Esther comes to you courtesy of the wonderful Tomie dePaola and his picture book called “Queen Esther: A Bible Story Book.”
She is a super heroine that your young reader should get to know.
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