A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love

Book review by
Jan Carr, Common Sense Media
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love Book Poster Image
Knitting = love in this warm and fuzzy tale of kindness.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Vocabulary related to knitting: stitches, rows, dropping a stitch. Instructions for knitting a hat and making a pom-pom. Hebrew word mitzvah, Yiddish word keppie.

Positive Messages

It's good to do "mitzvahs" (good deeds) for others. We can all be kind and contribute goodness to the world. When others need things, we can help supply them. Even if you're unsure of your skills, you can use them for good. People of different races and backgrounds can be friends and be kind to each other.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Everyone's kind and caring in this book. Mrs. Goldman knits hats for new babies, neighbors, friends. She teaches Sophia to knit and when that's too frustrating, lets her make pom-poms. Sophia helps Mrs. Goldman walk her dog. When she realizes Mrs. Goldman doesn't have a hat of her own, she struggles to knit her one as a present.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla), is a lovely book about friendship and kindness that revolves around a knitting project. It features an older Jewish woman who knits hats for all who need them, and a young Mexican-American girl whom she teaches not only to knit, but also the importance of doing good deeds, a lesson readers themselves can take to heart. Edwards and Karas paint a kind and gentle world where people of various ages and races care for one another with great tenderness. Instructions for knitting a hat and making pom-poms are included.

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What's the story?

A HAT FOR MRS. GOLDMAN: A STORY ABOUT KNITTING AND LOVE tells the touching tale of two neighbors -- an elderly Jewish woman and a young girl of Mexican descent -- who are friends. Mrs. Goldman knits hats for new babies and others, and explains to young Sophia that this is a "mitzvah," a good deed. She teaches Sophia to knit, but Sophia finds it difficult, and spends her time making pom-poms. When winter turns cold, Sophia notices that Mrs. Goldman doesn't have a hat herself -- she gave it to Mrs. Chen! -- so Sophia again picks up her knitting to surprise her friend with a hand-knit hat. When the hat comes out misshapen and with holes, Sophia makes 20 pom-poms to decorate it. Now Mrs. Goldman can be warm, too, "And that's a mitzvah."

Is it any good?

In this heart-touching book about friendship, people of different ages and backgrounds knit each other hats and treat each other with care, making the book an excellent tool for teaching kindness. A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love, Sophia, a young Mexican-American girl is friends with elderly Mrs. Goldman, who sprinkles her conversation with Yiddish and knits hats for all in need. But in the snowy winter, she herself doesn't have a hat, so Sophia picks up her knitting needles and takes matters into her own hands. The hat that results is lumpy and has holes, but Sophia fixes it with a batch of her specialty pom-poms.

The story itself is crafted with love. The text is simple but with vivid detail -- "The soft wool smells like Mrs. Goldman's chicken soup;" "tiny fluffs of snow fall on Mrs. Goldman's head" -- and G. Brian Karas' art conveys the love and warmth perfectly. The very touching takeaway of this story is that knitting (and love) can be "lumpy and bumpy," but that's OK, because you can always add a few pom-poms.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the friendship in A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love. Do you have any older friends, for instance a neighbor or grandmother? Do they help you and teach you things they know?

  • What's a mitzvah? How dies Mrs. Goldman help others? What are the ways Sophia helps Mrs. Goldman? Do you do good deeds for others?

  • Do you know how to knit? Why do you think Sophia finds it difficult? Why does she quit, and why does she try again?

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