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I am honored to have been invited by CJP Family Connections to bring “Speak Volumes,” a Jewish-values based reading program, to this e-newsletter. “Speak Volumes” provides adults and children with the opportunity to read together, have a discussion and share activities that focus on a core value each month. This month’s value is Honoring One’s Parents (Kibud Av va-Em).

We are commanded to “Honor your father and your mother” (Ex. 20:12); therefore, as parents, we can teach our children what we expect in this regard. Here’s a selection of books to assist you:

New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story” by April Halprin Wayland. Ages 4-8. Izzy has received apologies from family and friends; even his mom said she was sorry for something she did this past year! He has apologized to his mom, his sister and the lady down the street, but he just can’t seem to say the words “I’m sorry” to the person he hurt the most. How will Izzy ever get through the holidays if he can’t make up with his best friend?

Discussion Questions:

  • How do you think Izzy felt when his mom apologized to him?
  • Why do you think Izzy had such a difficult time apologizing to his best friend?
  • Being the best person you can be is one way to honor your parents. Sometimes, however, even the best person says or does something hurtful without meaning to. Saying “I’m sorry” is a good way to fix the situation. Who might you need to say “I’m sorry” to during the High Holidays this year?

Old Bear and His Cub” by Olivier Dunrea. Ages 3-6. Old Bear and Little Bear love each other very, very much. Even though Little Bear doesn’t always want to listen to Old Bear, a gentle stare sets him in the right direction. When Old Bear doesn’t want to listen to Little Bear, he learns that his lessons have paid off in a very important way.

Discussion Questions:

  • What are some of the things Old Bear teaches Little Cub?
  • Why do you think these things are important?
  • How do you think Old Bear felt about having Little Cub take care of him?

A Chair for My Mother” by Vera B. Williams. Ages 3-6. A young girl, her mother and grandmother lose everything when their apartment burns down. Despite the generosity of their neighbors, who provide furniture and toys for their new apartment, what the girl longs for is a comfortable chair for her mother to sit on when she comes home from work.

Discussion Questions:

  • How does the young girl help her mother earn money for a nice, new chair?
  • What do you think your mother or father would want if you collected money to give them something as nice as the chair in this book?

Winter Shoes for Shadow Horse” by Linda Oatman High. Ages 5-8. A boy watches his father as he shoes a horse in their blacksmith shop. When his father tells him it’s his turn to put the last two shoes on the horse’s hooves, he can’t believe it. Slowly and carefully, he does the job, just as his father taught him.

Discussion Questions:

  • What job have your parents taught you that you hope to do by yourself soon?
  • How do you think the young boy was feeling while he put the shoes on the horse’s feet?
  • How do you think his father was feeling as he watched the boy shoe the horse?

Happy reading!