It's a sunny fall day in Maya's neighborhood, and all her neighbors are busy with outdoor activities, from releasing some young butterflies to organizing a birthday scavenger hunt. But Maya learns that today is Shemini Atzeret, when the Jewish community prays for rain. Rain will ruin her neighbors' day! Maya rushes to warn them. Luckily, as her rabbi explains to her, it turns out that she doesn't need to worry.
"Shemini Atzeret may be the least likely holiday to be showcased in a picture book, but it’s about time for kids to learn a bit about this Jewish holiday that seems to be part of Sukkot, but actually falls after Sukkot is over. Because of the harvest and Israel’s rainy season, the prayer for rain is an important aspect of this day. But as young Maya walks down her (quite multicultural) street on this beautiful fall afternoon, she encounters her neighbors preparing for a variety of fun outdoor activities — all of which would be ruined if it were to rain. When she learns that people in synagogue are planning to pray for rain that evening, she rushes out to warn her friends that rain is surely coming, then runs to beg the rabbi not to pray the ancient words. He reassures her that when Jews pray for rain on Shemini Atzeret, 'We’re not praying for the rain to fall here. We’re praying for the rain to fall in Israel!' The adorable, brightly colored illustrations of Maya’s street and neighbors, along with the depiction of perky, frizzy-haired Maya herself, make this book a likely candidate for reading multiple times."--Jewish Journal—Magazine
"It’s a warm fall day, and a spunky young girl greets her neighbors in her multicultural town. It seems like everyone is taking advantage of the sunny, dry weather by partaking in all kinds of outdoor activities. But when Maya learns that the evening’s synagogue service for the Jewish holiday of Shemini Atzeret includes a prayer for rain, she warns her neighbors to cancel their plans. Much to Maya’s relief, however, she learns from her rabbi that the prayer is for Israel, where the rainy season is needed for crops and trees. 'Amen,' she pronounces at the end of the prayer.
The back page includes an explanation of the lesser-known holiday that comes at the end of the Sukkot celebration."--JTANews—Newspaper
Susan Tarcov grew up next to the Bronx Zoo, a great inspiration for children’s writing. She is the author of Maya Prays for Rain, Raisins and Almonds, and Professor Buber and His Cats.Ana Ochoa
studied Graphic Design in Mexico and illustration in France. Her work has been exhibited in Tokyo, Bologna, Taiwan, New Delhi, Colombia, Bratislava, Rio de Janeiro, and Mexico City. She lives in Mexico City.