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  • The Yankee at the Seder
  • Written by Elka Weber
    Illustrated by Adam Gustavson
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781582462561
  • Our Price: $16.99
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The Yankee at the Seder

Written by Elka WeberAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Elka Weber
Illustrated by Adam GustavsonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Adam Gustavson

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The war is over, and everyone is saying the South lost. Ten-year-old Jacob would give anything to show those Yankees that not all Confederates are ready to surrender.

He gets his chance when he sees a real, live Yankee soldier walking down his street, on leave for Passover. But before Jacob can think of a way to be brave, the Yankee asks him for a piece of his matzoh.

This true story about a Jewish Yankee soldier joining a Southern family’s Passover meal shows how common values can overcome even the most divisive differences. Gathered around the seder table, the group discusses what it means to be free--a subject as relevant today as it was during the War between the States and during the Exodus.


It was all over.

On the day before Passover, with Mother busy supervising the cook, with potatoes boiling and apples stewing and beef bubbling in carrot-studded gravy, General Robert E. Lee surrendered. There were still some troops fighting outside Virginia, but my father said it didn’t matter. The war was really over.

The War of Northern Aggression had started when I was seven. Now I was already ten and the Rebel Confederates had lost to the Union. I was never going to be a Rebel general. I’d never capture a whole unit of Yankees single-handed.

But war or no war, Passover is still Passover. My mother had been getting ready for months. The whole house had been scrubbed clean from the attic to the cellar, just to make sure we didn’t own a single bit of bread. If a stray crumb did somehow find its way into our house, it would just die of loneliness.

Grandpapa took down the leather-bound Haggadahs from the highest shelf in the parlor. The Haggadahs, which explain the whole order of the seder, the festive Passover meal, were in large Hebrew letters, splotched with wine stains from years past. Every year at this time, we remember how the Jewish people were slaves in the land of Egypt long ago, and how we were led out of slavery and into freedom. We sing songs and eat special foods to remind us how bad it was to be slaves, and how good it is to be free. Of course, with the war these last four years, we’ve been talking about slavery for as long as I can remember.

Yesterday morning, when Father and I went to pick up our matzoh, I heard talk of rioting in Richmond and whispered worries of worthless Confederate money. No one knew whether the Union would treat us well, now that they’d beaten us. But word had spread that at least our soldiers would be allowed to take home their own horses to work their farms.

Yankee soldiers patrolled the streets, walking around as though they owned Virginia. To be fair, I guess they did own Virginia now.
Elka Weber|Adam Gustavson

About Elka Weber

Elka Weber - The Yankee at the Seder
ELKA WEBER loves making history come alive. She has taught history to both high school and college students and authored nonfiction works for adults. Elka lives in New Jersey with her husband, and five children. She's proud to have authored The Yankee at the Seder, which won the Sidney Taylor Honor Award.
Visit www.elkaweber.com to learn more about her!

About Adam Gustavson

Adam Gustavson - The Yankee at the Seder
ADAM GUSTAVSON has illustrated more than a dozen picture books, including the award-winning The Yankee at the Seder, also published by Tricycle Press. Adam received an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York. He lives in West Orange, New Jersey.
Praise | Awards


Starred Review, Publishers Weekly:
"Sensitively written and beautifully illustrated."

Review, Kirkus Reviews:
"The handsome design features decoratively framed text boxes opposite Gustavson’ s expressive, realistic oil paintings. Should spark discussion around the seder table and in classrooms of history."

Review, Book Review Digest:
"The book offers any number of promising uses: it’s a fascinating Civil War story with a difference, it’s an American counterpart to the World War I Christmas in the trenches story, and it’s a rich tale of people finding connections through faith in a difficult time. Weber provides a glossary before the story and concludes with a compact, personal explanation of the festival of Passover, so even those unfamiliar with the holiday will have no difficulty in understanding its import in the story."

Review, Social Edication, June 1, 2010:
"...an engaging discussion about freedom as Jewish traditions are celebrated."


WINNER NCSS/CBC Notable Children's Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies
WINNER Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book
HONOR Sydney Taylor Book Award, Association of Jewish Libraries

  • The Yankee at the Seder by Elka Weber
  • March 10, 2009
  • Juvenile Fiction - Religious
  • Tricycle Press
  • $16.99
  • 9781582462561

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