Can Sophie Change the World?

Chronicle. Mar. 2022. 32p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781452181561.
PreS-Gr 3–It is almost Grandpop’s birthday, but Sophie, a young girl with pale skin and red hair, cannot think of the right gift to give him. Grandpop, also pale-skinned, warmly tells Sophie that he genuinely wants nothing more than for her to change the world by doing mitzvahs, the Jewish commandment of doing good deeds. How can Sophie possibly change the world all by herself? Each day of the week she does many mitzvahs. She shares toys with her friends, helps her parents, and cares for a neighbor’s plants. But is Sophie actually changing the world? Grandpop teaches Sophie that each mitzvah is an act of kindness that makes a difference, no matter how big or small. The pale, warm hues of Lewis’s delicately stylized mixed media illustrations directly depict Wallace’s didactic, matter-of-fact story. The illustrations are not engaging enough to independently generate additional interest in the story, and the picture book may generally leave readers feeling uninspired. The conclusion demonstrates an activity for young readers as they consider their own mitzvahs for making a difference in the lives of others.
VERDICT An additional SEL purchase for libraries looking to supplement their collection of secular picture books depicting Jewish values.

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