Hello, Goodbye, Shalom

We were returning home from Israel, and as we made our way into the taxi taking us to the airport, I could hear my five-year-old daughter repeating something softly to herself. As I tuned in to what she was saying, I realised that it was a sentence from one of our favourite PJ library books. Like a mantra she kept repeating the same line over and over again – as we arrived at the airport, as we taxied down the runway, and finally as the nose of the plane pointed up into the sky.

The line was "Shalom Israel, heading home". It is the last line of a beautiful PJ book called Everybody Says Shalom, introducing children to Israel and some of its many gorgeous sites. The watercolour illustrations are so full of warmth and colour that there is at least one that I would be delighted to hang on my wall (Masada at sunrise, as you're asking!). Throughout the book the reader is encouraged to look closer, as on every page a tiny pink gecko (Gili) can be found hiding somewhere in each illustration.

It seemed to me that on some level the memory of that lovely book was giving my daughter a little bit of solace now that the holiday was over. Because of course, it's never enough to read a PJ book once – no sooner have we turned over the last page than we are turning the book over, ready to start again. Back to the beginning. Back to the start of the holiday.

Before becoming a full-time mother, Sara Elias was chief sub-editor of a food magazine. She now volunteers in the community and very occasionally finds the time to write.