The Shopkeeper’s Dreidel


Opening illustration from THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN'T SPIN, written by Martha Seif Simpson, Wisdom Tales Press

A mysterious peddler shows a magic dreidel to a shopkeeper in Prague in this opening image from THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN      © D Yael Bernhard

The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin

This week’s image is the opening illustration from my recently-published picture book, The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin, written by Martha Seif Simpson and published by Wisdom Tales Press.  I’m pleased to announce this special book has been selected as an award-winning finalist in the “Children’s Religious” category of the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.

From the award committee:

The 2015 USA Best Book Awards brought in over 2000 entries, our biggest year since starting this program in 2004. By placing in this year’s awards, you have beat out 75% of your fellow entrants.
A major publicity campaign announcing the award results is already underway and will continue throughout the holiday season. A national press release will be blasted out next week to 200,000+ media outlets and publishing industry contacts.

Martha Seif-Simpson delivers a wonderful teaching tale with this story.  As the illustrator, I got to add my own visual twist to the plot in the transformation of the Hebrew letters on this magic dreidel that reflects its spinner’s character.  The idea came to me while teaching Hebrew and Judaics to 4th and 6th-graders. I knew the kids would enjoy this surprise. I loved painting the streets of Prague, where the story takes place a century ago. Martha’s writing and my style of art are well-paired in this charming Chanukah tale.  I’m grateful to the folks at Wisdom Tales for bringing us together.

Dreidel jacket small“A lovely choice for those wishing to circumvent the more commercial aspects of the holiday.” — School Library Journal

“The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin is an entertaining story with good pacing and supporting graphics that enrich and deepen the story of kindness, innocence, and a good heart.  It exceeds the sum of its parts and leaves a heart-warming impact that stays with the reader after the last page is closed.” — 5-star review

For those of you who are local, I’ll be reading, signing, and selling The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin tomorrow at Ulster Community College’s “Day of Jewish Learning”.  The book is also available signed from The Tender Land in Phoenicia, and in my webstore.

You can read about how the book was made here:

   pg9You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy this book!
If you have a special child in your life, please consider The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin as a gift this holiday season.

Chanukah begins with the lighting of the first candle on Sunday evening, December 6th.
Chag Sameach (happy holidays) to all!


D Yael Bernhard
Author / Illustrator of
THE JEWISH EYE – 2016 /5776 calendar of art  – new!!
JUST LIKE ME, CLIMBING A TREE: Exploring Trees Around the World – new!! 
NEVER SAY A MEAN WORD AGAIN – A Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review;
winner of the Sydney Taylor Award and National Jewish Book Council Award
THE DREIDEL THAT WOULDN’T SPIN – A Toyshop Tale of Hanukkah
WHILE YOU ARE SLEEPING – A Children’s Book Council Notable Book
GREEN BIBLE STORIES FOR CHILDREN – Nat’l Green Book Festival Notable Book
A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK – An American Bookseller Assoc. Pick of the List
– and more!

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