Reading my kids the same books over and over can get tedious, and
losing books checking books out from the library can get pricey. So when I was contacted about doing a review of a kids’ book recently released by Artscroll, I was super excited. The book is called Making Hashem Proud*, and it’s by Chaviva Krohn Pfeiffer, a daughter of the renowned storyteller, Rabbi Paysach Krohn. The book is geared toward 4-8 year olds, and when I flipped through it, I noticed that the amount of words on each page was higher than what we usually read. I was a little nervous. How would this pan out?
Well, let me tell you.
First, I was thrilled that the topic of the book is the importance of making a Kiddush Hashem. I am pretty much obsessed with teaching my kids that we should treat all people with respect, no matter how similar or different to us they may be. And that we should act with common decency, which I try to model for them, by doing small acts of kindness like returning shopping carts to the corral, saying “thank you” to people in the service industry, and not talking on my cell phone while driving (on speaker is technically okay, but hand-held is a definite no-no).
This book is all about stuff like that, and through Pfeiffer’s engaging stories, kids can learn that how they act in public really does matter. That doing mitzvos and being considerate to others is not only the right thing to do, but can have far-reaching effects.
Happily, the book was a huge hit with my kids. They asked for it night after night, and they would excitedly flip through the pages until they found an illustration that piqued their interest, and then we would read that story.
I think their love for this book can be properly shown through the lack of quality pictures I have of us reading the book together. Let me explain: Before I wrote this post, I attempted to take a quality shot of me reading to them (it’s a pretty logical choice of image) , but when I asked my oldest to take a picture, he hastily took one shot before joining us on the couch to read!
I tried to take another one with a timer, but again, not really what I was going for.
By then, my three-year-old was so engrossed in the stories that I wasn’t about to interrupt our quality time just to get the “perfect” shot. We ended up reading the book until it was time for lunch. Three or four stories, back-to-back.
Here are some of the scenarios presented:
- What happens when a person dents someone’s car and no one’s around to see?
- What happens when a homeowner finds a diamond ring that belonged to the previous homeowner?
- What happens when the owner of a knish shop catches a young man stealing from him?
- What happens when a group of boys from a local school go bowling?
- What happens when someone gives a simple “thank you” to TSA employees at the airport?
The more I read this book to my kids, the more I like it. It’s an important message to be teaching our children, and Making Hashem Proud does it well. The book not only helps instill in my children the importance of treating others with respect and doing the right thing, it also provides a good reminder to myself. It reveals how our behavior could impact those around us; how the impression we make on others could potentially lead to a pay it forward situation that we could never imagine.
Here’s to many happy readings of this book, and many more lessons learned.
*Disclaimer: I did get a free copy of the book, but that did not affect my opinion of it. I would totally go buy it (if I didn’t already have it, obviously) and I’m planning to buy a few copies as presents for friends and family.