Written by Shoshana Nambi
Illustrated by Moran Yogev
Published by Kalaniot Books, September, 2022
For those unfamiliar with the holiday of Sukkot: it is a celebration of harvest and a commemoration of the Jewish people's journey from Egypt through the desert to Israel. The Very Best Sukkah tells the story of Shoshi and her brothers as they build a sukkah (a temporary shelter) to celebrate Sukkot. They hope the rabbi will select theirs as the best in the village. When a storm destroy's one family's structure, however, everyone moves past the competition to honor the holiday and rebuild together. All agree that the new sukkah is best because it represents the entire community. Back matter explains the origin and unique culture of the Abayudaya, a Jewish community in Uganda.
Yogev's cover art demands attention with bright colors, thick lines, and delightful details. The enchanting visuals continue inside as readers meet a fun-loving girl who wants to win a local competition. She models strength of character and compassion, leading her brothers not just to school and synagogue, but also in empathy and kindness. And she has the sweetest pet goat! Although Shoshi may live in a faith-based community on a different continent, an American audience will easily relate to her.
In a saturated market, The Very Best Sukkah stands apart as a valuable story with stunning illustrations and the added benefit of widening one's worldview.
Note: A review copy was provided upon request for the purpose of this honest review.