1st & 2nd Grade Books > The Journey to the Island of Maybe

The Journey to the Island of Maybe

Written by: Miriam Yalan Shtekelis Illustrated by: Batia Kolton / Publisher: Kinneret

Distribution: April 2018

The doll Elisheva is bald, and her nose is broken. Danny and his friends go and look for the only doctor who can fix it. A full story about compassion, imagination and optimism by the Israel Prize laureate for Children’s literature, Miriam Yelan-Steklis.

Family Activities

Danny, Kutz, Rutz and Mutz sympathize with Elisheva the Doll and her pain, and together they set out on an adventurous journey to Dolly Land in order to help her heal.


Classroom Activities

Dear Parents,

Danny, Kutz, Rutz and Mutz sympathize with Elisheva the Doll and her pain, and together they set out on an adventurous journey to Dolly Land in order to help her heal. This imaginative tale invites readers to enter into a magical world, which raises some big questions: can all injuries be healed? Do people have hearts? What would a world in which people learned to speak "every language on earth" have looked like?


"If you believe breaking is possible, believe fixing is possible"

(Rabbi Nachman of Breslau, Likutey Moharan Tanina 112)


Errors, misunderstandings, and arguments between friends are part of everyday life for us all. Sometimes it seems that breaking and ruining is far easier than fixing – a much more complicated task. The principle of Tikkun is fundamental in Judaism. The above quote by Rabbi Nachman of Breslau underscores that we should be just as certain of the possibility of fixing, building, planting, and growing anew, as we are of the possibility of breaking. The key to repair is our faith in our ability to make a difference.


How do we read a long story?

From a very young age, children listen to stories told to them: we sit close to one another, look at the illustrations, and they listen to your pleasant voice. And when the story's over? No problem, we can turn back to the first page and start again. As children grow older, books get longer, and can no longer be read from beginning to end in one sitting. To preserve the fun of shared reading, you may want to consult with your child, and discover the best way for them. Here are some suggestions on how to read long stories together (you can also combine them):

  • This book is divided into nine chapters, each with its own title. You could perhaps read just one or two at a time. When getting back to the book, look for the titles of previous chapters to remind you where you left off.
  • You may want to share reading the story out loud: read some to your child, and then ask them to read to you.
  • Your child may surprise you, and, finding it hard to wait, keep on reading on their own! This may be a good opportunity to ask them to tell you in their own words how the plot continued.


This is the last PJ Library book you will be receiving. We hope you have enjoyed the books throughout your time at kindergarten and school, and may you read a whole lot more!


Miriam Yalan Shtekelis (1900–1984)

Poet and author Miriam Yalan Shtekelis was born in the Ukraine in 1900. Her father, Dr. Yehuda Leib Wilensky, was a Zionist leader (her last name, Yalan, consists of his initials). Miriam was given a Jewish Zionist education, and immigrated to Israel at the age of 20. She settled in Jerusalem and worked at the Jewish National and University Library (JNUL) for many years. She wrote and translated dozens of children's poems and stories, and some of her poetry was put to music. Among her well-loved songs are Flower for Nurit, The Soap Cried, Zehava the Doll, and The Rabbit has made a Home. Miriam Yalan Shtekelis was greatly appreciated in life for her writing for children, and was an Israel Prize laureate for children's literature.

פעילות בחיק המשפחה

  • Elisheva's friends come to her aid – they travel, endanger themselves, and are even willing to make an effort and take risks to help her get well. Perhaps you would enjoy remembering a time of need when you were helped by a family member or friend, or else share a memory of a time when you helped a fried in need.
  • Following the story, you may want to discuss reality and make-believe, friendship and compassion, breaking and fixing.
  • Do you have any dolls or toys that need fixing? You could look for "injured" games together, and try to fix them.
  • This book was first published in 1944, and the language used in it is in keeping with the times. Did you come across any words or phrases with which your child was not familiar? You may want to ask them who is telling the story, in their opinion – who is the feminine voice that expresses an opinion every once in a while – and what they think of this character.
  • You may enjoy leafing through the book and looking at the beautiful illustrations by illustrator Batia Kolton. You could pick your favorite excerpt of the story, and draw it.
  • Miriam Yalan Shtekelis wrote many other poems and stories: Flower for Nurit, The Running Dwarves, Brave Little Danny, and more. You may want to look for them at home or the library.

רעיונות לשילוב הספר בגן

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