Sadie and the Big Mountain for Shavuot

Sadie and the Big Mountain up the hill

I hadn’t told any of my children a story about the Ten Commandments before today. So when I made an aside while reading Sadie and the Big Mountain to say that the story of Moses and Mount Sinai was a Muslim and Christian story as well, I became quite excited to have found a book that worked so well for Muslims to recognise Shavuot.

(Before I used the book I coloured over the depiction of Moses AS – because Muslims do not portray prophets, or God, in pictures.)

The story does a wonderful job of raising enthusiasm for celebrating Shavuot including climbing a mountain like Moses. The main character, Sadie, is in a class preparing to climb their ‘own’ Mount Sinai but she is convinced she won’t be able to manage it. As each day passes she feels sure she will be ill in various ways.

Sadie and the Big Mountain sure she'll have fluEach repetition of her defeatism is accompanied by the class engaging in exciting activities to prepare for Shavuot: listening to a story about Moses going to the top of Mount Sinai; painting walking sticks for their own ‘mountain’ hike (because Moses AS carried a staff); learning the ten commandments that help people love God and each other; and preparing food to eat at the top of their mountain.

After a little dialogic reading, my children looked forward to Sadie discovering she was wrong about being ill and about being unable to climb the ‘mountain’. They were not disappointed. As soon as we finished reading the book the children discussed how they could do what Sadie did as Muslims. They began making mats for a picnic, and then I joined them to order some ‘walking sticks’ (broom handles) to paint, agree on the food to make … and hope we’ll find bluebells on our walk.

Sadie and the Big Mountain coverWe plan to go out for our hill walk soon insha’Allah. Perhaps we’ll take this book with us to read during our picnic. Perhaps I’ll prepare some oral storytelling and songs about Moses and the Ten Commandments. Perhaps I’ll read them relevant verses from a children’s Qur’an (19:51–53; 7:142–145).

Whether or not you’re interested in participating in Shavuot in your own way, I thoroughly recommend Sadie and the Big Mountain if you are looking for a young children’s book to stimulate discussion about this Jewish festival.

Elizabeth Lymer March 2015 flatElizabeth Lymer is the author of Religious Rhyme Timean Abrahamic children’s interfaith book, as well as Islamic Nursery Rhymes. She loves eating chocolate while she writes, and, with strictly chocolate-free fingers, she also creates Muslim and interfaith children’s gifts for book people at her Etsy shop, BarakahBedtimesUK. Elizabeth is a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance. She’s on Twitter @elizabethlymer.

You can subscribe to her emails by clicking here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.