Sky-High Sukkah

Sky-High Sukkah

By Rachel Ornstein Packer

Illustrated by Deborah Zemke


Hardcover; 32pp, $17.95

Leah lives high up in an apartment building overlooking the city, and dreams of having a sukkah of her own. But there’s no place to build it. With some help from the neighbors, Leah and her friend Ari find a way to have their own sukkah—on the roof. 

About the Author:

Rachel Ornstein Packer holds an M.S.W. from Yeshiva University and has worked in the Jewish non-profit world for many years. She is now a writer specializing in food allergies, diet, and nutrition.  Sky-High Sukkah is her first children’s book.  Rachel lives in Olney, MD.

About the Illustrator:

Deborah Zemke is the author and/or illustrator of more than forty children's books, including Bea Garcia: My Life in Pictures and The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake. For more information, visit her website at  

About Apples & Honey Press

Apples & Honey Press brings together the best authors and illustrators from North America and Israel to create memorable stories for children that illuminate the values of family, community, having fun, and being the best we can be.

Reviews for Sky-High Sukkah

Category: Picture Books

"Friends and neighbors help apartment dweller Leah figure out a way to build a communal sukkah for the autumn holiday. Gouache paintings in the blues and grays of a realistic urban concrete landscape complete the subtly informative narrative, which culminates with a colorful sukkah decked out with fruits and vegetables gifted by the local greengrocer, a black gentile named Al. Beyond explaining the holiday's significance, Leah's story will serve to illustrate Judaism's model of kehilla (community), in which cooperative spirit brings people together."
Kirkus Reviews

"Cute runs with reality to a heartwarming finish line in this sweet fall holiday tale. Leah and Ari are Jewish youngsters living in high rise buildings in a city. They want their own sukkah. Where to put it? Their parents face the modern problems of urban life: no space, no car, no money for expensive extras, limited access to roof tops. A Hebrew school Sukkot poster contest offers the prize of a free sukkah. Ari will enter; can he keep it if he wins? When he does, the concept of kehilla (community) takes over. Ari's family may use their roof; neighbors help put the sukkah prize together; Leah's family will store it after the holiday because other neighbors will help carry. Yet, the finished product leaves the children sad. It has only paper chains until the local non-Jewish grocer arrives with gorgeous fruits and vegetables from his stand. A Jewish holiday provokes a neighborhood response that all can enjoy. The explanation of a sukkah, what it looks like, when and how it is used, arrives naturally as Leah tells the grocer. However, because the story stays true to the young children's point of view, there is no discussion of the holiday of Sukkot, its meaning or its reason to be in the Jewish calendar. The desire to celebrate in a real sukkah is contagious and joyous as both the words and illustrations in this story show with honesty, fluidity and pleasure."
AJL Reviews