Sophia’s neighbor Mrs. Goldman spreads love and kindness through her knitting, keeping hearts and keppies (heads) toasty warm. But when Mrs. Goldman gives her own hat to Mrs. Chen, Sophia starts to worry about her friend and her cold keppie! Mrs. Goldman is so busy taking care of others that she forgets to take care of herself! Who will knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman? Sophia had previously tried knitting and found it too boring and too tedious, but her love and concern for Mrs. Goldman inspires her to pick up her knitting needles and try again.
The hat Sophia makes for Mrs. Goldman is far from perfect, but Mrs. Goldman absolutely loves it, because it was made with love by someone she cares about.
There are so many reasons to love A Hat for Mrs. Goldman. It’s multicultural – Mrs. Goldman is Jewish, and introduces Sophia to the concept of a mitzvah (a good deed), while Sophia mentions her abuela from Mexico. There’s also a wonderful message of perseverance and creativity. Sophia finds knitting difficult, and she makes many mistakes, but she never gives up. And when the finished product doesn’t quite turn out the way she’d planned, Sophia comes up with an ingenious solution! Problem solving is a critical skill for children to master, and one that will set them up for a life-time of success. This will go wrong in life, no matter how hard we try, and what matters most is how we go about problem solving and finding solutions.
There’s also the idea of mitzvahs, acts of kindness that come from the heart. A knitted hat or pair of mittens might not solve life’s big problems, but they can be a powerful reminder to someone that there are people who care, and who believe that they are worth making an effort for. Small acts of kindness might not change the world, but to someone who is lonely, or sad, or hurting, or just having a bit of a bummer day, they could certainly mean the world.
And I haven’t even touched of G. Brian Karas’ illustrations, which are brimming with warmth, heart and charm, and which compliment the gentle text so beautifully.
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman is an absolute winner of a book, and one that’s definitely worth checking out.