Cover image for The mitten string
The mitten string
Rosner, Jennifer.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Random House, [2014]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Ruthie Tober's family is known for the beautiful, warm mittens they knit, so when she and her mother meet a deaf woman and her baby and give them shelter, Ruthie decides to design very special mittens for them.
Reading Level:
AD 880 Lexile.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Audubon Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
East Aurora Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Current Holiday Item Holiday
Grand Island Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenmore Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
North Park Branch Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
City of Tonawanda Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



An original Jewish folktale about a girl who knits, a deaf woman, and a piece of blue yarn.

        When her family invites a deaf woman and her baby to stay, Ruthie, a talented knitter of mittens, wonders how the mother will know if her child wakes in the night. The surprising answer inspires Ruthie to knit a special gift that offers great comfort to mother and baby--and to Ruthie herself.
        With language and imagery reminiscent of stories told long ago, this modern Jewish folktale will resonate with those who love crafts, anyone who's encountered someone with physical differences--and with everyone who has ever lost a mitten in the depths of winter.

Author Notes

JENNIFER ROSNER is the author of an adult memoir, If a Tree Falls, her story of raising two deaf daughters in a talking family and a hearing world. The Mitten String was inspired by the story of a deaf ancestor whom she discovered in the course of researching her family tree. She has written for The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, The Jewish Daily Forward, and other publications.

Jennifer lives in Western Massachusetts with her family. Visit her at

KRISTINA SWARNER is an award-winning illustrator of more than a dozen books, among them Gathering Sparks and The Bedtime Sh'ma, both of which won Sydney Taylor Book Awards.

Kristina lives in Chicago. Visit her at

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ruthie and her Jewish family work hard preparing wool to sell at the village market. When, on their way home, Ruthie and her parents encounter deaf Bayla and her baby, Aaron, stranded thanks to a broken wagon, they offer to shelter them for the night. While they're settling in, Ruthie wonders how Bayla knows when Aaron needs her at night if she can't hear him cry. She soon gets her answer: Bayla ties Aaron's wrist to her own with a brilliant blue piece of yarn. The yarn gives Ruthie an idea she makes one big mitten for Bayla and one tiny one for Aaron, connected by a long strand. Delighted by her thoughtfulness, Bayla teaches Ruthie the sign for mittens and shows her which plants make the brightest blue dye. Swarner's soft, textural illustrations, rendered in block prints overlaid with bright pops of color, have a warm and dreamy folk-art style, befitting the setting. A handy list of knitting terms and some signs close out the volume. A cozy tale of generosity and creativity.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2014 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-The Tobers raise sheep, and young Ruthie loves to knit mittens from their wool for the villagers. When her family befriends a deaf woman whose wagon has broken down and her baby, the child observes how the mother, Bayla, sleeps with a string tied between her own wrist and Aaron's, to alert her if her son wakes up in the night. Inspired, Ruthie knits the pair a set of baby- and mother-sized mittens connected by a string and goes on to make more for the local children to keep them from losing their mittens. "You are both clever and kind," her mother praises. "You make our world a bit better with every stitch." The character of Bayla is based on the author's great-great-aunt; Rosner also has two deaf daughters. It is not surprising, therefore, that her portrayal of deafness is extremely respectful and sensitive. When Bayla uses sign language with Aaron, "To Ruthie, it looked as if Bayla were standing before an invisible spinning wheel, her words flowing from her fingers like delicate strands of yarn." Swarner's rounded and gentle watercolor prints add to the safe, warm feeling of this story of resourcefulness and mutual admiration. The "old country" Jewish setting is subtle, giving the story flavor without dominating it. Knitting and sign-language glossaries round out this attractive title. This beautiful story of kindness, acceptance, and resourcefulness will have wide appeal.-Heidi Estrin, Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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