The Purim Superhero [PDF]
Author: Kushner, Elisabeth
Illustrator: Byrne, Mike
Reviewed on January 15, 2013
People forget that Superman is an alien. This book is a reminder that that’s the source of his strength.
Here’s a secret that isn’t taught in school: Everyone has a superpower. It might be drawing monsters or kindness to strangers or the ability to read an unusual number of books. Nate’s power is that he feels like an alien. He’s the only boy in his class with two fathers, Daddy and Abba. All the boys in Nate’s Hebrew school class are dressing up as superheroes for Purim, but Nate really wants a green costume with antennae. (Comic-book fans would, of course, suggest that he dress as the Martian Manhunter.) “Sometimes showing who you really are makes you stronger,” Abba says, “even if you’re different from other people.” Nate’s secret power gives him unusual creativity, and his solution wins him an award for most original costume. Byrne’s illustrations make the ending especially satisfying, with half-a-dozen young superheroes standing around in tennis shoes. (Longtime superhero fans, however, will feel old when they see Wolverine in a picture book.) A generation from now, this book may feel hopelessly outdated: A moral about tolerance and being yourself may seem painfully obvious. Many will view this as a sign of progress. If that happens, it will be because of the work of heroes like Nate.
For now, this book is both timely and entirely satisfying. (Picture book. 4-9)
“Jewish Gentle” and Other Stories
of Gay-Jewish Living
is hot off the presses!!!!
“Jewish Gentle” and Other Stories of Gay-Jewish Living explores various aspects of gay-Jewish life: coming out to self and family; (re)defining one’s relationship to tradition and faith; surviving child abuse and teenage sexual identity angst; experiencing the adult joys and heartbreaks of dating, of forming relationships, and of losing them; coping with HIV/AIDS; considering parenting; and dealing with old age.
Mirroring the diversity within contemporary American Jewish life, the main characters in these 24 stories are Jewish, but in various ways—some wrestle with religion, others with their place in tradition and community. Yet for other characters here, Jewish identity is not at issue in the pursuit of happiness, love, and inner peace; rather, Jewishness is a cornerstone given, a foundational lens through which these characters see and examine the world and self.
From the Introduction by Andrew Ramer:
“We know the territory that Jaffe writes in—lush, stark, unexpected, a Jordan flowing through it with Real on one bank and Dream on the other. Jaffe is not afraid to write about violence, or blasphemy, sometimes comically and sometimes horrifically….you are holding in your hands this new book of his. Where fractured novel and story collection are Velcroed to the music he composes, his Torah of the moment, the stories of our gay queer Jewish lives, seen and reseen, heard and reheard, with a lush orchestra of lived experience playing in the background. A collection of stories that could be a novel, the sections of a novel shuffled like a deck of cards. A lush Jewish gamelan for queer ears, queer hearts, queer minds. And otherwise.”
“Jaffe tells it like it is and while his writing is beautifully sublime, his plots are unexpected. Nothing scares Jaffe and he writes about what he feels and what he feels like– be it violent or even blasphemous…. we have his writings to cast a glow on our lives. He gives us songs of life…and as we read we hear his gorgeous symphony in our minds. I wanted to get up and dance because the music/writing moved me so.” From a review by Amos Lassen.
Available in paperback or e-book format at Amazon.com: