Sweet Tamales For Purim
by Barbara Bietz
August House Publishers, 2020

Many Jewish families helped settle, diverse communities in the desolate, desert terrain of the Old West. Although Sweet Tamales for Purim is a work of fiction, it is inspired by a true event. In 1886, the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society of Tucson planned a Purim Ball for the entire community. Barbara tells the story from the perspective of a young girl, who along with her friend, Luis plan to create a Purim festival for their town. Their plans for the celebration were well underway until the family goat, Kitzel, ate all of the traditional holiday pastries, Hamantashen. Fortunately, they find another way to celebrate Purim and the family is able to share their cultural traditions with their new neighbors.

Purim celebrates the courageous stand that Queen Esther made to save the Jewish people from being banished by the king. The young girl’s determination to create a spirited Purim celebration in her western town, provides a unique insight into how children can creatively overcome challenges when life doesn’t go as planned. Her quick thinking, persistence and resourceful actions give their first Purim festival added significance.

What reviewers are saying…

“Barbara Bietz’s Sweet Tamales for Purim, enhanced by John Kanzler’s colorful illustrations, is just as sweet as its title. A tale of friendship and joyful celebration unlimited by cultural boundaries, this book is a gift to its readers and a much-needed model of true community.” Lyn Ford, writer, author and nationally recognized Affrilachian storyteller