Everybody’s Book: The Story of the Sarajevo Haggadah

Kar-Ben. Jan. 2024. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781728486468.
Gr 2-4–The Sarajevo Haggadah is a stunning 14th-century illuminated manuscript that includes the traditional text used during the Passover Seder, along with elaborate illustrations depicting scenes from the Bible. Strauss traces its miraculous story of survival from the first owners, a Jewish bride and groom in Spain whose descendants were forced to flee from the Spanish Inquisition, to its purchase by the National Museum in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 1894. A Muslim scholar hid the precious book from the Nazis during World War II, and another professor saved it from destruction during the Bosnian War in 1991. It has since been restored and is safe again in the Bosnian National Museum. The sophisticated, textured illustrations use pencil and watercolor to help tell the story of the Haggadah’s journey. Colorful, detailed borders also give readers a sense of the artwork contained within its pages. An author’s note and a contemporary photograph of the Haggadah is appended.
VERDICT An important story that illuminates how people of different faiths recognized the value and significance of this manuscript, one of the oldest of its kind in the world, and worked together to keep it safe.

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