Something from Nothing

By Phoebe Gilman,

Book cover of Something from Nothing

Book description

Phoebe Gilman's beloved classic celebrates its 20th anniversary!

Joseph's grandfather made him a beautiful blanket when he was a baby, but now it's frazzled and worn, and Joseph's mother says it is time to throw it out. Joseph doesn't want to part with his special blanket, and he's sure that…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission

Why read it?

2 authors picked Something from Nothing as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

A deft, charming re-telling of a Jewish folk tale, and winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award. In this gentle story, young Joseph grows up in a shtetl in a warm and loving home. His grandfather, a tailor, makes him a beautiful blanket at birth. As he grows, the blanket becomes worn, but Grandpa can always rejig the fabric into something new. At last, however, the sad day arrives when nothing is left of the blanket… until Joseph realizes that what’s left is a wonderful story. 

I nominate this book as a storyteller’s delight because of its comforting, cyclical nature, and…

This is based on a traditional Jewish folk tale. Grandpa can turn Joseph’s “frazzled and worn” baby blanket into a small jacket because there is just enough material left. Each time the blanket becomes too “frazzled and worn,” Grandpa makes it into something else, a tie or a handkerchief, until it is just a small button. But when the button is lost, we finally learn how someone can make “something from nothing.” With wonderful illustrations, this is a humorous and loving interpretation of life in a 19th-century Jewish village.

From Sylvia's list on for Jewish preschool children.

Want books like Something from Nothing?

Our community of 9,000+ authors has personally recommended 10 books like Something from Nothing.

Browse books like Something from Nothing

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Jewish history, preschool, and folklore?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Jewish history, preschool, and folklore.

Jewish History Explore 374 books about Jewish history
Preschool Explore 1,149 books about preschool
Folklore Explore 292 books about folklore