Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Yankee at the Seder” as Want to Read:
The Yankee at the Seder
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Yankee at the Seder

4.23  ·  Rating Details  ·  77 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
The war is over, and everyone is saying the South lost. Ten-year-old Jacob would give anything to show those Yankees that not all Confederates are ready to surrender.

He gets his chance when he sees a real, live Yankee soldier walking down his street, on leave for Passover. But before Jacob can think of a way to be brave, the Yankee asks him for a piece of his matzoh.

Hardcover, 40 pages
Published March 10th 2009 by Tricycle Press
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Yankee at the Seder, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Yankee at the Seder

Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 119)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I read 2 books this past weekend about celebrating Passover during the Civil War. Well, this one actually takes place just after the war had ended and a few days before Lincoln was assassinated. It's based upon a true story of how a Jewish Union soldier was invited to the seder of a Confederate family. The tension in the situation was portrayed through the narration by the young boy whose family held the seder. The best part of the story was when everyone began to realize that the story of the H ...more
Breanne Sergenti
Feb 16, 2014 Breanne Sergenti rated it it was amazing
Genre: Fiction/Multicultural
Grade Level: 5th Grade
Awards: Sydney Taylor Honor Award - Honors new books for children and teens that exemplify high literacy standards and portray authentic Jewish experiences.

Based on a true story, this book takes place in Virginia immediately after the end of the American Civil War. It is told from the perspective of a ten year old boy named Jacob Josephson. Jacob is frustrated about the Yankees winning the war and is shocked when he sees "a Yankee soldier, the re
Dec 04, 2009 Natalie rated it really liked it
There is devastation all around, but young Jacob’s biggest concern is that he will never be able capture Yankees as a Rebel General now that the war is over. His family has been preparing for Passover for weeks and he sits on the porch eating some Matzoh while contemplating this disappointment. A Yankee soldier on Passover leave interrupts his thoughts and asks him for a bite. Jacob is stunned by this request, but even more so by his mother’s invitation to the stranger to share the Seder with th ...more
May 10, 2016 hannah added it
Shelves: picture-books, 2016
I'm not saying there isn't a place for books that delve into the southern psyche after the war of "Northern Aggression," and I'm not even saying there shouldn't be books for children like that. I am saying, however, that I'm baffled by the idea of southern Jews being happy Confederates, and I'm especially displeased with the author's use of "housemaid" to describe someone who is clearly a slave. I also think the narration is ridiculous, because it describes Passover correctly, in being about fre ...more
Paul Farbman
Mar 20, 2014 Paul Farbman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Third grade or above
Shelves: my-choice
This fictional story by Elka Weber tells the story of a Jewish Yankee who visits a southern Jewish family for the Passover meal a few days after the end of the Civil War.

This book would be great to use for both teaching about multiculturalism and history. This might be an appropriate read aloud beginning at the third grade level. To understand the story, students would need to be given some basic background information about the Civil War and Passover. This is provided in the end pages.

The illu
Ziwei Cheng
Oct 15, 2014 Ziwei Cheng rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rdg
This is a real story. A Yankee lived with a family for a while and then a few stories happened. The little boy in the family really did not like the Yankee. The Yankee talked a lot about war. There are a lot conversations between the Yankee and the little boy.
This whole book is very complicated for readers. I read the book for three times to figure out the main line of the resources and to understand what the whole story is talking about. This is a very interesting book. The book changes the
Jan 13, 2012 Kara rated it it was amazing
Shelves: civil-war

Note: this turned into not so much a review, but rather a recap with heavy commentary.

If there is an annual award for Most Awkward Seder (and there should be, considering how tense family holidays can get) then the 1865 award most definitely went to the Josephson family of Virginia.

Elka Weber writes about a peculiar moment in time that illustrates 1.) the diversity of this nation, 2.) the unifying aspects of common ground, and 3.) the extremes of cognitive dissonance.

Based on a true story, the
Mar 04, 2010 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical-fic
This beautifully told story for older readers takes place in Virginia immediately after the Civil War has ended. It is a delicate time, the states are in upheaval from destruction and war, but it is also a time to be welcoming to others. It is Passover. Jacob and his family, Virginia Confederates, invite a Yankee soldier to join them. At first, Jacob is shocked and angry, how could his family invite him? But, his mother reminds him that during Passover they welcome all who are hungry and in need ...more
This picture book is based off a true story from the end of the Civil War. When the war ended right before Passover, one Northern soldier was in Virginia. He saw a little boy eating matzah on a porch, and found himself invited to the seder. This book is a creative imagining of what that seder must have been like.

The author's note at the end says that she has always thought that it must have been an awkward night. With Passover's themes of freedom from slavery, as well as going against government
Mar 16, 2014 Naomi rated it it was amazing
I love these chidren's historical books based on true events and this one was done well. The "story behind the story" was included to even further educate the children. As a Civil War enthusiast, I find that children's books sometimes give me the personal stories the best and this one was an excellent example of this.
Mar 30, 2013 Yapha rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
At the end of the Civil War, a Yankee soldier is given leave for Passover. Corporal Myer Levy comes across 10-year-old Jacob Josephson eating matzah on his front porch in Virginia, and the Confederate Josephsons find themselves hosting a real live Yankee at their Seder. It was hard for Myer to understand how the Josephsons could celebrate the true meaning of Passover and still support the South in the Civil War, but in the end the Jewish traditions bridge the gap between the two sides. Pair this ...more
Angela Foley
Dec 04, 2014 Angela Foley rated it really liked it
This could be a great book for an elementary classroom to teach a history lesson and possibly of a new religion the students are not familiar with.
Jun 30, 2015 eLLen rated it liked it
I liked that this book was written based on true accounts. I learned that Seder is a Jewish ritual.
Sam Bloom
A truly wonderful story that is (mostly) true. The Civil War has ended, Passover is here, and the Josephson family in Virginia is surprised to find a Yankee soldier coming up the walk. They invite him in for the Seder, and during the reading of the Haggadah the family and the soldier argue (civilly) about freedom, liberty and how the two concepts tie in with Passover. Through it all the characters are realistic (which makes since, as Myer Levy, the soldier, was a real person) and the arguments g ...more
Marcia First
Sep 23, 2009 Marcia First rated it liked it
Genre: Historical Fiction

The Yankee at the Seder is based on a family story that had been passed down through many generations. It tells the story of a Passover Seder celebrated by a Southern Jewish family soon after General Lee surrendered at Appomattox. Following tradition, this family reluctantly invited a Yankee Jewish soldier to join their celebration. I enjoyed this story because it showed the importance of finding those things that bind us together, even when the world tries to tear us ap
Sep 17, 2008 Dodie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: public and school libraries, Gr 2-5
Ten year old Jacob is a Confederate, and is smarting from the South's loss in the Civil War. When some Yankees come through town during Passover, one of them comes to his home seeking a family willing to share their Seder. The soldier gently guides Jacob's thinking about slavery with comparisons to the plight of the Jews of the Old Testament, and slowly, the healing process begins. Adam Gustavson's illustrations are a delight.
This Passover tale is based on a true story and is well worth checking in to.
Jul 30, 2013 Josephine rated it it was amazing
Not a perfect book, to be sure, but a startling one...and I mean that in a good way. Like so many other readers, I too never stopped to think that there might be Jews in the South at the time of the Civil War.

Based on a true story, I'd hope this book would be read for pleasure, just for enjoyment, but I can see that it's more the thing to be read during history or religion classes.
Apr 01, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it
This is a true story of a Yankee soldier sharing the Passover Seder in a Confederate family just after Lee surrendered. It not only tells an event in the little known history of the Jewish Civil War soldier, but give an insight into the real meaning of bravery, freedom, and the resolution of war. This story should definitely be shared.
Nice combination of American History and gaining a better understanding of Judaism. Works as nicely as the book wherein George Washington encounter a soldier at Valley Forge lighting his menorah for Hanukkah, though this one is even better as it is based on a true story.
Heather told me this was a great book and she was right. The book is about a southern Jewish boy right after the civil war ends and a yankee Jewish soldier who stops at their house and joins them for Seder. This is a beautiful book and very well done. Grades 2+
Jul 29, 2011 Rivkah. rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a lovely story that touched on how Jews delt with each other during the Civil War (something that I've thought of a few times). It went over some basic Passover principles, and had nice illistrations.
Aug 01, 2010 Chris rated it liked it
Several interesting themes are found in this book: Seder traditions, North vs. South in Civil War, early Jews in the U.S. Book was enjoyable while not being overly innundated with information.
Sarah Sammis
Sep 08, 2011 Sarah Sammis rated it really liked it
Ex wishlist

Good retelling of a moment in history. The photos at the end were fascinating. The book though runs long, even longer because I had to stop to explain a lot of things to my children.
Nov 03, 2013 Jim rated it it was amazing
wonderful read about the Passover bringing a yankee soldier and a southern family together at the end of the civil war. based on a true story
Feb 14, 2013 Patricia rated it it was amazing
Even tho this is in picture book format it is for older children. A fabulous Passover book that will encourage discussion and dialog
Nopie added it
May 10, 2016
Kim Paige
Kim Paige rated it it was amazing
Apr 28, 2016
Jenny rated it liked it
Apr 25, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book