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Signs in the Well (ePub)

Children's eBooks

By Shoham Smith, Illustrations by Vali Mintzi
Imprint: Green Bean Books
File Size: 3.5 MB (.epub)
Pages: 29
Illustrations: 30
ISBN: 9781784385002
eBook Released: 11th July 2019

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“Shoham Smith has wisely and sensitively adapted one of the finest stories of ancient Jewish legend . . . Thanks to her endeavour, new generations will be introduced to this magical literature." Professor Avigdor Shinan, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem

"Shoham Smith's language is clear, rhythmical, unadorned and not childish . . . Her adaptation presents this treasure of Jewish literature to children unapologetically and with a sympathetic approach to the roots of our culture." Dr Inbar Raveh, Children and Youth Literature, David Yalin College, Jerusalem

"Smith’s clear text manages to free itself from the intimidating shadow which envelopes the phrase ‘Legend of Ancient Jewish Sages’ by treading confidently along the fine line separating simplicity and complexity, between day-to-day and high languages. [The book] deals with the importance of slow processes, with the power of knowledge, and stresses the need to master cultural heritage.” Tal Marmelstein in Israel Today

Young Akiva was a goat-herd. He was good at his job and content with his life, except for one thing – he had never learnt to read. One fateful day he decided it was time to change this…

This is the inspirational story of Rabbi Akiva’s personal journey from poor goat-herd to a leading scholar. Elegant prose from renowned author Shoham Smith and striking illustrations from award-winning artist Vali Mintzi illuminate this beautiful and universal tale about how it’s never too late to learn.

This was a really positive story!

The book tells you that it is never too late to learn and if you put your mind to it you can learn a new skill at any age – I couldn’t agree more. The story was well told and the images really suited the story.

I love learning new things every day and hope that it encourages children and adults to do the same. I am lucky that my daughter loves reading with me, exploring and she wants to learn all the time, I will always encourage her and hope it stays that way.

I do love a good positive story and the ending for this is great – 4 stars from me, highly recommended!

Read the full review here

Donnas Book Blog

Vali Mintzi, a grad­u­ate of the Beza­lel Acad­e­my of Art and Design in Jerusalem, uses a graph­ic tech­nique known as scratch art to cre­ate the rich­ly detailed and expres­sive illus­tra­tions, which look like paint­ed etch­ings. The art qui­et­ly enhances the sto­ry and gives an evoca­tive feel­ing of time and place.

Read the full review here

Jewish Book Council

About Shoham Smith

Shoham Smith was born in Jerusalem in 1966, grew up in the Jordan Valley and studied industrial design at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design at Tel Aviv University.


An author of collections of short stories and children’s books, Smith received the 2009 Prime Minister’s Prize and is a two-time winner of the ACUM Award for Furthering the Publication of Children’s Books, in 2011 and 2015. Smith has also won the Devorah Omer Prize (2014) and the Lea Goldberg Prize in 2017, for A Treasury of Hebrew Legends for Children and My Aunt Lea Goldberg respectively. Smith currently lives in Tel Aviv and works as an author and translator. She lives with her partner and three children and teaches writing workshops.


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