Thank You Mod­eh Ani

Alyson Solomon, Bry­ony Clark­son (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – February 7, 2022

Rab­bi Alyson Solomon teach­es sev­er­al gen­tle, but vital, lessons in this col­or­ful pic­ture book about appre­ci­a­tion and gratitude.

A group of hap­py, healthy chil­dren frol­ic out­doors, aware that life is won­der­ful because their bod­ies per­form so many essen­tial func­tions enabling their dai­ly well-being. Their feet and legs enable them to jump and play; their hips and waists enable them to dance; each body part is addressed with respect and won­der for all it does so well. They are aware, as well, that their inter­nal organs play an impor­tant role in their lives. They are grate­ful for breath, for a heart­beat, for bones that pro­vide need­ed sup­port. Each ele­ment deserves love and respect for the part it plays in con­so­nance with the oth­ers. Faces are espe­cial­ly not­ed for the many doors” they con­tain which open the sens­es to the world as well as for the mouth that sings out” in song and prayer. The phrase Mod­eh Ani, a phrase of thanks to God, is empha­sized, remind­ing the chil­dren of the source of all their blessings.

An author’s note explains that the book was inspired by two beau­ti­ful, foun­da­tion­al, dai­ly prayers that are said upon awak­en­ing each morn­ing: Mod­eh Ani, which thanks God for our return to con­scious­ness after hours of sleep, and Ash­er Yatzar, which thanks God for the func­tion­ing of our intri­cate bod­ies and reminds us of their com­plex and won­drous power.

The illus­tra­tions are done with insight and with thought­ful atten­tion to the over­all mes­sage. They show a mul­ti­cul­tur­al group of chil­dren remind­ing the read­er, among oth­er lessons, that these basic, Jew­ish con­cepts are uni­ver­sal for all humankind. Var­i­ous head cov­er­ings, includ­ing kip­pot, are includ­ed, and one child in a wheel­chair appre­ci­ates her own abil­i­ties along with all the oth­er children.

Excel­lent for read­ing aloud in either a class­room or at home, this love­ly book deliv­ers impor­tant mes­sages in a light and joy­ful way.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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