In the midst of Hanukkah, children’s author Sarah Marwil Lamstein polishes up timeless motifs about the mysterious ways of God in Letter on the Wind: A Chanukah Tale, her dexterous retelling of a folktale from the Middle East.
She will share the book on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. upstairs at the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore on Main street in Vineyard Haven.
The story begins after a terrible drought, when the poorest man in the village relies on his faith to bring everyone enough oil to light their menorahs for all the nights of Chanukah: he writes his request and mails the letter to the Almighty on the wind. His prayers are answered and the villagers can celebrate Hanukkah — but many in the town are convinced that he is a thief.
Ms. Lamstein’s version of this Jewish folktale reminds readers of the first Hanukkah and of Mattathias’s bravery in protecting his faith. The elegant prose is complemented by Neil Waldman’s lyrical ink and watercolor illustrations.
The author’s book Annie’s Shabbat was named to Booklist’s 1998 Top Ten Religion Books for Youth. Her other books for children include I Like Your Buttons; From the Mango Tree and Other Folktales from Nepal, coauthored by Kavita Fam Shrestha; and Hunger Moon, a young adult novel.
She received an master’s in fine art in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College. She is a resident of Newton.