Lesley Simpson

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Here's the review from Kirkus for A Song For My Sister


There is no specific Jewish ritual for naming a daughter, so many families invent their own. Simpson has invented an entire book to go with it.
Wishes come true here, but not right on time. Mira wishes for a sister, and a baby is born four years later. Sound effects are important in this book. When Mira tosses coins into a wishing well, they go “Swish clink clank.” The baby makes one noise, “Waaaaaaa!”—there are always seven as in a row. She cries when her parents try to feed her and when Mira bounces her or shows off her best cartwheel. The word “Waaaaaaa!” appears in bright red letters, and readers might get tired of seeing it on page after page, but then, that’s the point. By the day of the naming ceremony, even the rabbi looks a little worn out. (Progressive readers will be happy to see that she’s a female rabbi.) Mira, of course, saves the day, if not right on time. The book ends with the sounds of Jewish music, Mira singing “Dim-dim-dee-dee-dim” and her sister singing “Goo-goo-ga-ga-ga.” Even young readers may see the plot twists coming, but the details are funny (Mira wants to name the baby Siren), the ending is genuinely moving and some families may want to borrow the naming ritual for themselves.
A neat melding of religious traditions into the familiar new-sibling story. (Picture book. 3-8)

Song for my sister (2012)

Winner of a Sydney Taylor Notable Book Award for young readers in 2013

Mira's wish comes true--with the arrival of a baby sister--but that wish doesn't act the way everyone was expecting. Mira comes up with a creative solution to an emerging crisis on the day her sister learns her name. Winner of a Notable Book Award from Sydney Taylor Book Award Committee for younger readers in 2013

Selected Works

Picture book
What happens when your wish comes true but everything goes wrong.
Yuvi's pluck helps her survive an extraordinary exodus from Ethiopia to Israel. Winner of the Media Award from Be'Chol Lashon for children's books for Jewish diversity
The Hug is the story of a hug with an identity complex.
"For innocent 6-year-olds, being Jewish is still a hopeful business. Ask Ira, star of The Shabbat Box by Lesley Simpson, illustrated by Nicole in den Bosch."
--Jerusalem Report December 2001
Naomi Levin's world turns upside down in more ways than she can imagine.

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