Many Jewish families helped settle, diverse communities in the desolate, desert terrain of the Old West. Although Sweet Tamales for Purim is a work of fiction, it is inspired by a true event. In 1886, the Hebrew Ladies Benevolent Society of Tucson planned a Purim Ball for the entire community. Barbara tells the story from the perspective of a young girl, who along with her new friend, Luis plan to create a Purim festival for their town. Their plans for the celebration were well underway until the family goat, Kitzel, ate all of the traditional holiday pastries, Hamantashen. Fortunately, they find another way to celebrate Purim and the family is able to share their cultural traditions with their new neighbors.
Purim celebrates the courageous stand that Queen Esther made to save the Jewish people from being banished by the king. The young girl's determination to create a spirited Purim celebration in her western town, provides a unique insight into how children can creatively overcome challenges when life doesn't go as planned. Her quick thinking, persistence and resourceful actions give their first Purim festival added significance.