Hannah's Way


After Papa loses his job during the Depression, Hannah's family moves to rural Minnesota, where she is the only Jewish child in her class. When her teacher tries to arrange carpools for a Saturday class picnic, Hannah is upset. Her Jewish family is observant, and she knows she cannot ride on the Sabbath. What will she do? A lovely story of friendship and community.

Winner of the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers

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After Papa loses his job during the Depression, Hannah's family moves to rural Minnesota, where she is the only Jewish child in her class. When her teacher tries to arrange carpools for a Saturday class picnic, Hannah is upset. Her Jewish family is observant, and she knows she cannot ride on the Sabbath. What will she do? A lovely story of friendship and community.

Winner of the 2013 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Younger Readers

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Hannah is eager to fit into her new school. It’s the Depression, and her family has relocated from Minneapolis to rural Minnesota. She is the only Jewish girl in her class, and her family is the only Jewish family in the community. Glaser (Emma’s Poem) delves into the girl’s dilemma: there’s a class picnic on Saturday, the perfect opportunity to build friendships, and the teacher is arranging carpools for it, but Hannah’s not allowed to ride in a car on the Sabbath. She frets that no one will understand her problem. “If only she weren’t so far away from all her friends,” Hannah thinks. In Minneapolis, they would have understood the situation. She dreads the moment when she has to speak up. However, when she finally tells her teacher, a surprising solution presents itself. This is a sweet story, based on fact, of a community accepting a stranger with a different religion. Illustrations by Gustavson (Good Luck, Mrs. K.) in shadowy greens, browns, and purples lend a period feel to the story, and his painterly use of texture and light deftly depicts his character’s emotions. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
It's the Depression year of 1932. Hannah's family has moved to northern Minnesota where her uncle has offered her unemployed father a job. Not only is she the new girl in school; she is also the only Jewish student. When the teacher, Miss Hartley, announces a class picnic, Hannah hopes to make friends there. But it will be on a Saturday, and Hannah is not allowed to ride in a car on the Sabbath. She is very unhappy, feeling no one will understand. Even when Miss Hartley arranges a ride for her, she does not feel able to explain. Finally, the day before the picnic, Hannah tells Miss Hartley that she cannot ride, but she can walk if someone will walk with her. And she gets a very pleasant surprise. Double pages create a correct naturalistic historical setting of clothes, automobile, household objects, and schoolroom. A lively Hannah appears on the jacket, walking along a country road, drawing us into the sympathetic emotions Gustavson maintains throughout. Glaser adds a note on her source and additional background. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Children's Literature - Joyce Rice
The class picnic is on Saturday and everyone is sharing rides to get to the park. Hannah is the newest student in the class and more than anything she wants to attend the picnic. Hannah's family celebrate the faith of Orthodox Judaism and part of that faith is the belief that Saturday is a day of rest from work, which also means no one rides in an automobile. It is the early 1920s, in northern Minnesota, and Hannah's father has lost his job and moved his family to Minnesota to work with his brother. All of the country is experiencing a deflating economy and Hannah knows that her father is lucky to have a place to continue to work and feed his family. However, the move from the only home she has ever known has been difficult for her. Hannah is the only Jewish student in her class, and in the school, and although she wants desperately to fit in, she finds it difficult to share the practice of her faith even with her teacher. In order to attend the Saturday class picnic, Hannah must find a way to get to the park while not breaking the rules of the Sabbath. All through the school week, she looks for a friend that might understand and help her to work it out. At the end of the week, her only solution is to tell the teacher her plan. She is unprepared for the support she receives from her teacher and fellow students. This is a recommended title for all upper elementary and middle school collections in social science. Reviewer: Joyce Rice
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3—Hannah is having difficulty adjusting to her new life on the Iron Range in Depression-era Minnesota. She has yet to make friends when her teacher announces that the class will be going on a picnic on Saturday and the children should arrange car pools. As an observant Jew, Hannah is unable to ride in a car on the Sabbath. Despite her protests, her parents hold their ground: "Just because there are no other Jews in the community doesn't mean we forget the ways of our people," her father firmly explains. The only way Hannah can go is if she walks the two miles to the park, and her parents insist that she find someone to accompany her. When she finally musters up the courage to explain her predicament to her teacher, she is pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of support, understanding, and friendship from her classmates. Oil paintings richly convey both the historical period and the rural, Upper Midwest setting of the story. Based on a true account from the Minnesota History Center, this simple story with a lovely message would pair nicely with Kathryn Lasky's Marven of the Great North Woods (Harcourt, 1997) and Barbara Cohen's Make a Wish, Molly (Doubleday, 1994).—Rachel Kamin, North Suburban Synagogue Beth El, Highland Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews
Sometimes the tiniest actions are the most heroic. In this book--based on a true story--the heroes are children. Illustrator Gustavson is very good at painting eyes. Even when the characters have their eyelids closed, it's easy to read their expressions. Mostly they look nervous. Hannah is nervous because she might have to miss her class picnic. Her family won't drive on the Jewish Sabbath; she's the only Orthodox girl in a school in rural Minnesota. In every picture, Hannah looks nervous in a slightly different way: shy when she's a new student, timid and regretful when she tells her father about the picnic. "Just because there are no other Jews…" he says, "doesn't mean we forget the ways of our people." Hannah thinks: "I don't want to follow the ways of my people… I just want to go on my class picnic." On the second-to-last page, she has to speak up in front of the entire class. Her eyes are pointed at her desk. "I--I can go if someone will walk with me," she whispers. And in one brief, moving sentence, all the students raise their hands to volunteer. In this picture, their eyes are barely visible--they're tiny scribbles of paint--but they seem to be filled with joy. The moment is a little miracle--nearly impossible to believe, but entirely convincing and true. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761351382
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/28/2012
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 987,784
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.20 (d)

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