Cara Segal is a born worrier. She figures her worrying works like a whisper in God's ear – if Cara's concerned about car crashes, kidnappings, or murders, she lets God know, and he always
spares her. But Cara never thought to worry about a fire. And one night while she's sleeping at a friend's house, her house catches fire, and her mother and younger sister are both killed.
Throughout shiva, the initial Jewish mourning period, Cara can't help wondering about God's role in the tragedy. And what is her father's role in her life now? He walks around like a ghost
and refuses to talk about the fire. Cara longs for her family and her home, where sweet smells filled the house as Cara's mom filled orders for her catering business, Julia's Kitchen. Then one
day a call comes in for a cookie order, and Cara gets a wild idea. Maybe by bringing back Julia's Kitchen, she can find a way to reconnect with everything she's lost.
Complete with a glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies, this debut novel is a joyous tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit.
Julia's Kitchen is a 2007 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
BRENDA A. FERBER received the Sydney Taylor Manuscript
Award for Julia's Kitchen. She lives in Deerfield, Illinois.
Grade 4-6-The night her mother and sister die in a house fire, 11-year-old Cara is sleeping over at her friend Marlee's. As she gradually tries to adjust to life without them, she struggles with a sense of disbelief at her loss, her anger at her father for his reluctance to discuss the details of the fire and for hiding himself in his work, and her feelings of isolation from her classmates. She questions God's lack of power to keep her family safe, finally realizing that she cannot live without her Jewish faith. Cara takes strength from her beloved Bubbe and Zayde-her mother's parents-and from creating a family scrapbook. But healing and self-assurance finally come with her decision to continue her mother's home-based baking business-Julia's Kitchen. Ferber's characterization of suburban Cara is accurate and believable, although other characters are not as fully developed. A short glossary of Hebrew terminology and a recipe for chocolate chip cookies are appended. The novel's brevity and honesty will appeal to both Jewish and non-Jewish girls.-Susan Scheps, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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