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Julia's Kitchen

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  225 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
Cara Segal is a born worrier. She figures her worrying works like a whisper in God's ear – if Cara's concerned about car crashes, kidnappings, or murders, she lets God know, and he always
spares her. But Cara never thought to worry about a fire. And one night while she's sleeping at a friend's house, her house catches fire, and her mother and younger sister are both killed.
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published March 21st 2006 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Community Reviews

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I don't think I realized this was about Jewish grieving when I picked up this book at ALA. When Cara loses her mother and sister in a fire, she thinks that God has abandoned her but as she moves through the grieving process, she discovers that God gives us the power to get through tough times. The most realistic scenes were Cara and her best friend who eventually fight over Cara's grief. Ultimately it snaps her back into the real world and she secretly starts operating her mother's home-based ba ...more
Virginia Aronson
Jun 27, 2015 Virginia Aronson rated it it was amazing
This brilliant book begins with a fire on the first page and does not let you turn away. Sensitive, bold, and deep, the story examines big themes including God, grief, loss, tragedy, courage, friendship, and identity. And baking! The story is hopeful despite the trials of the young protagonist. A moving, very real look at how a young girl deals with a grave and sudden loss. Pick this one up, no matter what your age. You won't be able to put it down.
Oct 27, 2010 N_sally rated it it was amazing
Keep a box of kleenex next to you as you read this book. Cara is an eleven year old girl who loses her mother and sister in a house fire in the first pages of the story. Cara was staying overnight with a friend when the fire occurred. Her father survived the fire, but won't ever talk about what happened. The story takes the reader through the initial days of shock and denial and then the next few months as Cara tries to deal with her grief. Her father is so overcome with his own grief that he is ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Sara added it
Julia's Kitchen by Brenda A.Ferber is about a girl named Cara who has been going through a lot of depression and grief by losing the two most important people of her life, her mom and her sister in a fire. Although, Cara wasn't there when the fire took place, she was staying at her best friend's house, Marlee. All that Cara had left was her dad, but the thing was that her dad didn't speak a word to her. He was to busy mourning about the loss of hiss wife and daughter. He was really hurt aswell, ...more
Jean Haberman
May 13, 2014 Jean Haberman rated it liked it
God was a talisman for 11-year-old Cara. Everytime she worried about something, God took care of it and it didn't happen. She forgot to worry about her mother and sister dying in a fire and the unthinkable happened! Did God abandon her? Where was He?

Cara and her father weren't able to communicate. Each of them was dealing with grief in their own way. Cara's best friend and her family helped Cara cope with the loss of her mother and her sister, however, Cara needed her dad. Cara found a way to h
Annica Azad
Jul 10, 2015 Annica Azad rated it it was amazing
What's crazy about this book is that I remember reading it when I was probably 10 or 11, but it has stuck by me for the past few years. I think the best things definitely come out of tragedies sometimes, whether you want for it to happen or not. And I think this way, because as terrible as the situation may seem at the time, how you deal with the situation really allows you to become a better person and look at every day, as a new day, when you can make everything work the way you want it to wor ...more
Arielle Levitan
Jun 18, 2013 Arielle Levitan rated it it was amazing
I cried for about the first 100 pages and almost missed a flight because I was so engrossed. This might be meant for kids but it covers a very difficult subject and does it so well.
May 12, 2009 Megan rated it really liked it
i loved this book so much and i also no the author and she is so nice!
Nov 07, 2008 Angela rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan  Person
Jun 30, 2009 Susan Person rated it really liked it
I"m not sure how I missed this one when it first came out in 2006, but I'm glad that I finally found it. Cara is spending the night at her best friend's house when her own home catches on fire. Her mother and younger sister are killed. The house is destroyed, so Cara and her dad move into an apartment for the time being. Obviously Cara is distraught, and it's made worse by the fact that her father can't talk about that night. She needs to know exactly what happened, but what would help her begin ...more
May 16, 2015 Mabel rated it really liked it
Not a topic I expected but surprisingly relatable.

I like the mix of baking and friendship and Jewish customs. It was a little targeted to a specific audience but still a good read.

Even though the character and the father was a little extreme, I can't pretend to know how everyone grieves. Definitely not a light happy read but not very dark either. Overall a good read at helping kids learn about death and grieving.
Rachel Cochran
Jan 04, 2015 Rachel Cochran rated it liked it
This book handles some heavy hitter situations as a young girl loses her mother, sister, and cat. The main conflict within the book is the main character's struggle to find peace with her father while trying to make sense of life and figure out how to possibly move on when her life has just been flipped upside down. The book dragged on a little and was definitely written for elementary or middle school students.
Aug 24, 2007 Yi rated it really liked it
I opened this book, and was pretty floored within the first few pages to realize that I was reading a book about a girl who's just lost both her mother and her sister in a horrible house fire. She "questions God, and his existence," according to the cover flap, which made me really hope that the book would rise above a discussion of faith.
At worst, it'd be a treacly read about redemption and belief. Brenda Ferber, though, handles the topic well, keeping it to a very real set of circumstances an
Dec 29, 2009 Marcia rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: grades 4-6, sad, death
Shelves: grades-4-6
This was a random grab off the new shelf at the public library and it was a treat. Cara was spending the night at a friend's house when a fire destroyed her home and took the life of her mother and sister. Now she is left wondering how her father survived and if her life will ever be the same. Through a wonderful best friend (and her friend's mother) a kind school counselor and baking cookies, she is on her way. It's sad, but the characters are real and the story compelling. It also ties in a go ...more
Deena Krawitz
Julias Kitchen by Brenda A. Ferber was really good but very sad at the same time. This book is about a young girl names Cara that is eleven years old and one night she sleeps out at her friends. The next morning they get a call and her dad tell her that her mom and sister died in a fire. The only one that survived the fire was her dad. They were very sad. Cara's mom use to bake all the time and Cara use to help her. When she died Cara took over her baking skills and she use to make all her goods ...more
Jan 31, 2014 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
Very well done. Young girl loses her mother and sister to a house fire. She works through her grief with cooking. Touching. Good use and explanation of Jewish words.
Deanna Ferguson
Oct 30, 2013 Deanna Ferguson rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lena B
Apr 28, 2016 Lena B rated it it was amazing
Cara Segal suffers of grief and depression of the lost of her mom and sister in a house fire. But her dad isn't acting like her dad anymore, so she feels like she has no one but her best friend, Marlee. Cara decides to keep Julia's Kitchen, (Cara's mom's business) alive, by baking with Marlee.
Mar 31, 2010 Megan rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: I will recommend this
Recommended to Megan by: I got it my kids school book fair
So far I'm hooked. I have definitely shed a few tears while reading this so grab your kleenex!
I finished this book and am a little surprised that this book is for young readers. The subject matter is a little intense. The main character is 11 and finds out her mother and sister die in a house fire. Her father manages to get out and she questions if God is real. Her faith and relationship with her father are tested. I loved learning all the details regarding what happens at a Jewish funeral! I wo
Michael Moriarty
Jun 28, 2012 Michael Moriarty rated it it was amazing
Audience: 4th, 5th and 6th graders, possibly 3rd graders who are on a advanced reading level.

Appeal: A wonderful story well written and that moves at a good pace to keep interest. The stpry deal with questions of why bad thibgs happen, but that a person can bounce back with the help of God and good friends. Written in first person style so any child or parent dealing with grief issues could relate.Great glossery at the end that explains many different jewish terms used in the story.

Awards: Sydn
Feb 14, 2016 Cooper rated it it was amazing
Awesome book!!!!!
Lauren Doyel
Feb 11, 2012 Lauren Doyel rated it it was amazing

Cara's mother has a baking buisness. Julia's Kitchen. Cara even named it. But when Cara's mother and sister die in a house fire while she was spending the night at her friend's house, all she has left is her father. He refuses to tell Cara what really happened on that night. Then, orders start pouring in. Cara decideds to secretly take over her mother's baking buisness all without letting her father know. Will Cara ever find out what really happened on the night?
Feb 10, 2010 Amanda rated it it was ok
An okay children's book but very graphic and tear-jerking death by fire of her family. The really good thing about the book (for which I suspect it was nominated for a Young Hoosier award) for children is the fascinating and well-described Jewish death and funeral rituals. The mourning of wife and child is memorable and well-written for adults -- but I think too much for least too much for my 8-year-old for whom the vocabulary and style is within range.
May 23, 2014 Cecilia rated it it was amazing
It made me cry. Btw it has a lot of whiz. I just couldn't out it down until dawn
Laura Rogers
Jan 16, 2010 Laura Rogers rated it really liked it
An eleven year old girl looses her Mother and sister to a house fire while spending the night at a friend's house. The book is about her journey back into her life and how she and her father make peace with themselves and the tragedy.
A very sad book, obviously, but it deals with the serious issues in a sensitive way. Engaging and uplifting - although you at first feel very depressed :)
Sep 30, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Elizabeth Bird
This was a sweet read - a good recommendation for a 9-13 year old who has experienced loss. I'm torn as to whether it is a "foodie book for kids". On one hand, the way Cara heals through baking is really beautiful. But on the other hand, food is so not central to the plot.

But never mind that. It's a well-told, quiet, serious, lovely story - the perfect thing to read in the damp of spring.
Pat Forrer
Jul 10, 2016 Pat Forrer rated it it was amazing
The cover on this book is misleading. It is a very emotional story for young people--the story of a family devastated by a house fire. It may be hard for some kids to read, but it has a message of hope as the main character, a girl, must sort out her own emotions and her feelings about God and the people in her life. The resolution shows how she grows to live on in her life.
Damera Blincoe
Jan 27, 2011 Damera Blincoe rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens-books
I started to read this book simply because I had to bend down and pick it up after a child knocked it off of the shelf. It deals with the aftermath of a house fire that leaves a young Jewish girl without a mother and her eight year old sister. It talks a lot about the Jewish faith and grieving process. It was a very informative yet sad story. All in all, I really liked it.
May 25, 2015 Kimberley rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. So tender and sweet
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book was actually painful to read in the beginning, when Cara finds out that her mother and sister have died in a fire. The stages of her grief, her frustration with her father's lack of communication, and her own doubt in God were strongly portrayed. I couldn't put it down. Moving, and with a happy ending.
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