Illustrated by Bob Dacey
School & Library Binding: 32 pages
Dimensions (in inches): 0.39 x 10.83 x 11.20
Publisher: Scholastic Trade
ISBN: 0590677209 (February 1998)
Booklist, Top Ten Religious Children's Books
Book of the Month Club,
Selection Society of Illustrators Silver Medal

          This is the story of the prophet Miriam, who kept the Israelites alive in the desert with water from her miraculous well. The beloved heroine's story has inspired a new Passover ritual: a cup filled with water that is placed on the Seder table.

How I came to write this book

Several years ago, I attended my first Feminist Seder, given by Ma'ayan. The liturgy for the seder, written and sung by Debbie Friedman, featured wonderful information about the prophet Miriam. It also introduced me to the new ritual off placing a Miriam's Cup at the seder table: Miriam is represented by a cup of clear water, because of her many associations with water in the Passover story: she watched over Moses in the Nile and led the women in grateful song and dance, after the miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. Indeed, In her honor, God created Miriam's Well, which provided clear water for the Israelites in the desert. How could I not write about Miriam? I love a prophet who loves singing and dancing, and who has such faith as well as strength of character. I can't think of a finer role model for maintaining faith and joy during difficult times.


"In a feminist variation on the many stories told about Passover, Miriam, Moses's older sister, is the heroine. It is she who watches over Moses in the bulrushes, and it is she who tells the Egyptian princess who finds him that Jocheved, Moses's mother, should be his nursemaid. Years later, when the Israelites are wandering in the desert, Miriam leads the women in dance, and it is in her honor that God creates a well of spring water. This story is told as a modern-day family gathers to celebrate Passover. Miriam, the daughter, hears about her namesake and receives a gift of a goblet in honor of the prophet to place next to all the other ritual objects on the table. Bright watercolor paintings lend drama to the story. The text is framed on a background resembling papyrus. An author's note provides background on the origin of the story while the back cover contains music and lyrics for 'Miriam's Song', written by Debbie Friedman. Families and libraries in search of stories about female Biblical heroines will enjoy sharing this story."
School Library Journal  

"Before the seder begins, Miriam Pinsky's mother tells her children the story of Passover and of Miriam's namesake. Looking back to when the Jews were slaves in Egypt, she talks about six-year-old Miriam's foretelling the birth of her brother Moses, and about the plagues and the Israelites' escape, about Miriam's leading her people in song to celebrate freedom, and about the well of clear spring water that God created in Miriam's honor. After the story ends, Miriam is given a crystal goblet to be filled with water during the seder to celebrate the prophet. The text and the lush double-spread watercolors are framed on a papyrus background. Each illustration bursts with movement, immersing readers in the drama of the story. Based on the Old Testament, Jewish commentary, legend, and tradition (all cited in the author's notes), this book will be magnificent for sharing as well as for teaching about holiday history."

Here is one piece of art, the front and back flaps of the jacket, and Debbie Friedman's MIRIAM'S SONG.
Click the thumbnails for a closer view of each.

Here is a photo
of me and the artist, Bob Dacey.