The Challah Girl:
”The illustrations [for The Challah Girl] are remarkably lovely and wondrous too, so it is just the kind of book that can repeatedly make bedtime a loving and cozy time to share with a precious child...[This book] also inspires children, in a delightfully creative way, to want to participate in challah baking experiences themselves. Even more subtly, this book instills the desire to show sensitivity and caring to others, as well as having confidence in one’s unique abilities to make a significant impact.”
—Bracha Goetz, Children’s Book Author
The Challah Girl, a charming new illustrated Jewish story for children and young adults, is a traditional fairy tale that carries much contemporary meaning. Writer and poet Bracha K. Sharp’s first book, published by Mosaica Press and distributed by Feldheim, is set “a very, very long time ago” in an unnamed Jewish town that is at once a medieval village and Eastern European shtetl, located in between mountains and ruled by a Jewish king. The only character who is named in the village is Zlatah Leah, a young woman who happens to bake the best challah throughout the region […] Zlatah Leah thus begins the hero’s journey, which, as one might expect, is met with many challenges: her several efforts to make her excellent bread are met with mishaps and consequent failure. Zlatah Leah then realizes that the regular recipe upon which she has relied for so many years with so much success will not work here. Overcome by a genuine concern for the prince’s welfare, she prays that she will find the right ingredients to make the bread that will renew his enthusiasm for life […] It is here that the author skillfully uses the ostensibly simple fairy tale structure to address topics such as sadness, reliance upon one’s strengths (noting that an excess of pride is different than inner belief in one’s capabilities), the utility of prayer, the healing power of gratitude and being concerned for the welfare of others rather than merely for yourself. Sharp, however, weaves these spiritual ideas seamlessly into her story so they are not presented in a didactic or overstated manner. They flow naturally out of the fanciful and engaging tale. Illustrator Anita Tung’s unpretentious and detailed draftsmanship complements the tone of the narrative. Through Tung’s thoughtful and colorful mixed media paintings, the reader is able to inhabit both Zlatah Leah’s tight-knit Jewish community as well as the royal palace, and is brought closer to experiencing Zlatah Leah’s emotions through the nuanced attention to her expressions.
—The Jewish Voice