The Blessing Cup is a prequel to The Keeping Quilt. It tells the story of Anna's family before they came to America - about what life was like in Russia. This story is more intense than The Keeping Quilt from an emotional standpoint, because it does allude to the terror felt by the family and village people during the Russian pogroms, and about the hardships the family goes through on their journey out of Russia and eventually to America. However, it also demonstrates the kindness, generosity, and sacrifice of strangers. And through all of their ordeals, there is another heirloom that comes to represent the family's journey - a cup from a tea set given to Anna's parents as a wedding gift.
I would recommend The Blessing Cup for ages 7 and up. As mentioned above, the historical events within the story are more complex, and some younger children may not emotionally process it or understand it as well as older children. It is, however, a good story to help you initiate discussion with your children about immigration push-and-pull factors throughout history, particularly with respect to people of the Jewish faith.
I've written before about how important it is to introduce our children to family heirlooms at an early age. Heirlooms are concrete, tangible items that link us to the people in our family who came before us. After reading these books to your children or grandchildren, share some of your family's most cherished heirlooms with them, and better yet, share the stories and memories that accompany those heirlooms.
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©2016 Emily Kowalski Schroeder