More Than Enough, review and author interview

more than enough collage

More Than Enough  A Passover Story by April Halprin Wayland is a children’s book about the Jewish holiday of Passover. The book focuses on the concept of Dayenu, which means “it would have been enough for us”. Each page reflects the various steps in preparing and celebrate Passover such as buying the ingredients, making special recipes (such as charoset), asking the five questions and singing special songs. Although the emphasis is on the holiday of Passover, the overall message of the book is about being mindful and grateful for everyday pleasures. As I have discussed before, this can be a difficult concept to teach children as many adults struggle with being mindful. I think that More Than Enough gives the reader a moment to think and reflect about enjoying the preparation of the holiday instead of stressing about the chores and perfections (like I usually do!). More Than Enough can be an excellent book to read at the table during a Seder to help children understand the sequencing of steps in the preparation and celebration of Passover but also the meaning of the word “Dayenu”. During your dinner or Seder, choose one person to help explain this concept to the children at the table. Talk about the story of Passover and what Dayenu means. For a modified version of the Passover story, check out Jewish Videos are also available on line but need to checked by parents for accuracy and appropriateness.

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More Than Enough also helps children build their vocabulary by providing a full glossary of terms and definitions in the back of the book. This children’s book is not only an educational read but also a helpful tool about introducing mindfulness to a specific experience.

I was thrilled to interview the author of this book, April Halprin Wayland about her inspiration behind the book as well as her poetry background. To learn more about April, check out her website here.

april profle 1. What inspired you to write More Than Enough?

A hike in Kauai. And a song we sing at Passover,”Dayenu.” Dayenu (pronounced die-A-new) means, “It would have sufficed” or “It would have been enough.” At Passover we say, If we had only been freed from slavery, that would have been enough. Or, If only the Red Sea had parted but nothing else had happened, that would have been enough.

It’s an upbeat song with an easy refrain—we simply repeat the word Dayenu. Be careful–this song is an earworm!

Listen to the song here:

As I hiked up a particularly challenging hill that sparkling day, I thought, “If I only make it to the top of this hill, Dayenu!” At the top of the hill, looking down at layers of turquoise, green, and deep blue waters, I thought, “If I only see this view and never swim in that ocean, Dayenu!”…and so on, throughout the day.

Dayenu is a universal concept—it reminds me to pause and notice the blessings in my life at that moment.

2. Can you provide some strategies and an activity for parents to help teach younger children the meaning of Dayenu?

When I talk with young children about the book, I begin by saying that I have two feet. I point at my shoes and ask, how many shoes am I wearing? (Two!) Then I say, but I have another pair of shoes at home, in my closet. So, I have how many shoes altogether? (Four!) And I have how many feet? (Two!) Do I have enough shoes? (Yes!) Yes, I have MORE than enough shoes. So let’s say, Dayenu! (Dayenu!)

Next, I give a few other examples—I have a cat, a dog, a tortoise, two red-ear slider turtles, and seven large goldfish. Do I have enough animals? (Yes!) Do I have MORE than enough animals? (Yes!) Dayenu!

I have two arms to hug people I love. And I have my husband, my son, my sister, my nieces, my nephews, my in-laws, my uncle, my 22 cousins. Do I have enough people to love? (Yes!)
Can my two arms fit around all the people I love? (No!) Do I have MORE than enough people to love? (Yes!) Dayenu!

Finally, I ask them to raise their hands if they’d like to tell me what they have more than enough of. Kids have said toys, pets, things to color, and more.

3. Do you have a poem that you have written that parents can share at the table for Passover?

Thanks for asking, Becca! I looked through years of poems and found a few that fit, but none felt exactly right for younger children, so I used your question as a poetry prompt (thank you!) and came up with this:

by April Halprin Wayland

I have two feet.
I wear two shoes.
And that’s enough—that’s Dayenu!

We have a dog, a cat, a fox
a duck, a moose, a cockatoo.
And that’s enough—that’s Dayenu!

I have two arms to hold my love.
I also have a son to hug…
a niece, five aunts, and three nephews,
and many more—that’s Dayenu!

Copyright © 2016 April Halprin Wayland. Used with permission of the author, who controls all rights

4. What came first in your career, being a poet or a children’s book author?

Poetry came first. Like so many teens, I wrote poems in my journal to identify what I was feeling during that tumultuous age—the passion, the despair, the churning hormones—all of it.

Later, I fell in love with the duet of words and pictures in children’s books (even in my book, Girl Coming in for a Landing—a novel in poems, every poem is illustrated.)

I was lucky to study with the renowned children’s poet, Myra Cohn Livingston for twelve years, who taught us how to use the tools of poetry. I use those tools when I write poetry and also when I write stories in prose.

By the way, I still write a poem every day in my journal and share it with my best friend, who sails around the world in a trimaran with his wife. He, in turn, sends me the poem he’s written that day. It’s across-the-seas delicious-ness ~

Do you want to learn more about April and her work? Check out these links…

April’s Website and link to blog

April’s Group Blog

The behind-the-scenes story of how the idea evolved into this book:

“Budding Scholars” and “Big Dreams” on the Poetry Foundation website:

“Can Our Eyes Fool Our Taste Buds?” on Science Friday’s website:

link to three of April’s poems on Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt’s site:

When Mom Plays Just for MeIce Cream Soup, and Winterku

Do you want to purchase the book?

buyitnow More Than Enough

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  1. Becca! Thank you for a wonderful interview…and for including all the links.

    One thing…are there now five questions? I was brought up with four. Just wondering…

    And to Becca’s followers: I’m so glad you dropped by…Dayenu!

    • Hi April! Thank you for your comment. I only emailed four questions and thank you for taking the time to answer all of them so comprehensively. I loved your poem and hearing your background!

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