The Koren Tanakh Graph­ic Nov­el: Esther

  • Review
By – August 17, 2023

Koren Pub­lish­ers has released a new graph­ic nov­el series that makes the Bible acces­si­ble to those who have been unable or reluc­tant to learn by tra­di­tion­al meth­ods, as well as to chil­dren who are learn­ing the sto­ry for the first time. Full of detail, col­or, and nuance, this vol­ume recounts Esther’s sto­ry, which is tra­di­tion­al­ly read dur­ing Purim. The artis­tic form is total­ly appro­pri­ate for a com­plex, excit­ing tale that is rich in char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and plot.

The vivid pan­els per­fect­ly encap­su­late the ornate palace of King Achashverosh in all his rotund resplen­dence; Vashti’s fury at being peremp­to­ri­ly sum­moned to his feast; Esther’s qui­et beau­ty and courage when she real­izes that she can save the Jews from death and destruc­tion; Mordechai’s stead­fast faith and wis­dom as he guides Esther along; and Haman’s cru­el machi­na­tions and infa­mous vil­lainy. The char­ac­ters’ facial expres­sions help bring the sto­ry to life. Immersed in action and intrigue, the read­er gets a sense of roy­al life in ancient Persia.

The Hebrew text of the Megillah appears on the pages oppo­site the graph­ic art. The text is pre­ced­ed and fol­lowed by the tra­di­tion­al bless­ings, which are recit­ed aloud at the start and the con­clu­sion of the pub­lic read­ing. The book can be used to fol­low along dur­ing syn­a­gogue ser­vice, but is even more use­ful for those who wish to get to know the sto­ry in advance.

This is a cre­ative, fun, and approach­able way to learn about the events behind the cel­e­bra­tion of Purim. And for those who are already famil­iar with the mate­r­i­al, it presents a fresh, unique spin.

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.

Discussion Questions