In the late 1500s, while Don Fernando, the conductor of the Royal Orchestra of Barcelona prepares for a concert to celebrate Spain's colonies in the New World, his son Rafael secretly practices playing the Shofar to help Jews, who must hide their faith from the Inquisition, to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Includes historical facts and glossary.
Jacqueline Dembar Greene is a noted Jewish American children's author, perhaps best known for her books about Rebecca, which are part of the 'American Girls' series, although she also wrote the novel Out of Many Waters, which features a young girl fleeing from the Portuguese Inquisition. The Secret Shofar of Barcelona is the first of her books that I have read, and it makes for an engaging introduction (if one is searching for such a thing) to the Spanish Inquisition for younger children. With its story of a family of Crypto-Jews (Jews who secretly adhered to their ancestral faith, while outwardly maintaining another), it reminded me a bit of Heidi Smith Hyde's Emanuel and the Hanukkah Rescue. The accompanying artwork from illustrator Doug Chayka is colorful and expressive, beautifully capturing the tension in the story. Recommended to anyone seeking children's stories about the Spanish Inquisition and/or set at Rosh Hashanah.