43 Children's Books About Jewish

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
The Trees of the Dancing Goats book
#1
The Trees of the Dancing Goats
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family's preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha's family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, "But what can we decorate them with?" Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa's carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season. Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

Hanukkah Bear book
#2
Hanukkah Bear
Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A bear wakes to a wonderful smell that leads him to the house of Bubba Brayna. Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, she doesn't hear or see well. When the bear arrives at her door, she believes he is her rabbi. Bubba Brayna and the bear light the menorah, play the dreidel game, and eat all the latkes. The mix-up is revealed, Bubba Brayna has a laugh about it, and everyone works together to make more latkes. The Chanukkah Guest by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House, 1990, o.p.) now has a new title, a shorter text, and new illustrations.

Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale book
#3
Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale
Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Matthew Trueman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon's mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights the first candle, and it attracts a visitor: a polar bear. Does she eat him? No! She shares his latkes, enjoys his songs, goes fishing for him, and even keeps him warm at night. By the last day of Hanukkah, Simon has nearly given up hope of ever being rescued. But then he recounts all of the miracles that have befallen him so far. Perhaps it is not too much to hope for one more, he thinks, as he lights all of the candles in the menorah. The bright glow signals a passing ship, and Simon makes it to New York after all. This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you've ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.

Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah book
#4
Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah
Written by Tilda Balsley and illustrated by David Harrington
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Judah and the little army of Maccabees fight to free Jerusalem from the cruel King Antiochus in this vibrant and action-filled rhyming version of the famous Hanukkah story.

Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein book
#5
Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein
Written by Amanda Peet, Andrea Troyer and illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

For anyone who's ever asked "Why can't we have a Christmas tree?" comes a lighthearted story about being Jewish during the holiday season—by actress Amanda Peet! Rachel Rosenstein is determined to celebrate Christmas this year—and the fact that her family is Jewish is not going to stop her. In a series of hilarious and heartwarming mishaps, Rachel writes a letter to Santa explaining her cause, pays him a visit at the mall, and covertly decorates her house on Christmas Eve (right down to latkes for Santa and his reindeer). And while Rachel may wrestle with her culture, customs, and love of sparkly Christmas ornaments, she also comes away with a brighter understanding of her own identity and of the gift of friends and family. Inspired by actress Amanda Peet's experience with her own children, Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein is sure to be a new holiday classic!

My First Chanukah book
#6
My First Chanukah
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Describes the traditional celebration of Chanukah, including the lighting of candles on the menorah, the eating of latkes, and the spinning of the dreidl. On board pages.

The Story of Hanukkah book
#7
The Story of Hanukkah
Written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Jill Weber
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hanukkah is a wonderful time filled with games, food, family, and fun. It's also the celebration of an ancient miracle, and retelling and remembering the story of that miracle is an essential part of the holiday, for young and old. The story of the courageous Maccabees is retold in simple yet dramatic text, accompanied by vibrant paintings of the battle, the Temple of Jersualem, and the oil which miraculously burned for eight long nights. A traditional recipe for latkes is included, as are directions for the dreidel game, for readers who want to continue the festivities at home.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? book
#8
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

From the warm glow of holiday candles in the menorah to the fun of family gatherings, little dinosaurs love to celebrate the Festival of Lights. But sometimes the excitement of Chanukah, its treasured rituals, and the tradition of gifts can tempt a youngster to misbehave. . . . Come along on a joyful romp filled with tumbling dreidels and melting gelt as America's favorite prehistoric pals spread a little mischief this season. Children will laugh out loud as dinosaurs fidget, fuss, and stomp through every occasion, while their human parents shift from shock to weary patience. Filled with warmth and cheer, this new book by the bestselling team of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague makes a perfect gift to be read again and again, year after year. How do dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah? The same way they say Merry Christmas: With an abundance of love, joy, memory, and gratitude.

Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama book
#9
Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama
Written and illustrated by Selina Alko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

A delightful holiday offering no matter what you celebrate in December! I am a mix of two traditions. From Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. How lucky am I? Holiday time at Sadie's house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa's arrival. Selina Alko's joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

My First Jewish Baby Book book
#10
My First Jewish Baby Book
Written by Julie Merberg and illustrated by Beck Feiner
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

This unique and adorable concept board book offers a fun introduction to Jewish culture, celebrations, food and more. Adorably illustrated alphabetical entries provide a fun taste of all things Jewish. A must-have for any Jewish baby's nursery, this tiny tome covers quintessential foods such as bagels and brisket, rituals and holidays including Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Shabbat, and Hanukkah, as well as important cultural references (with a little Yiddish thrown in). Parents and grandparents will love sharing every concise, funny entry with the little ones in their lives.

The Length of a String book
#11
The Length of a String
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

Imani is adopted, and she’s ready to search for her birth parents. But when she discovers the diary her Jewish great-grandmother wrote chronicling her escape from Holocaust-era Europe, Imani begins to see family in a new way. Imani knows exactly what she wants as her big bat mitzvah gift: to find her birth parents. She loves her family and her Jewish community in Baltimore, but she has always wondered where she came from, especially since she’s black and almost everyone she knows is white. Then her mom’s grandmother–Imani’s great-grandma Anna–passes away, and Imani discovers an old journal among her books. It’s Anna’s diary from 1941, the year she was twelve and fled Nazi-occupied Luxembourg alone, sent by her parents to seek refuge in Brooklyn, New York. Anna’s diary records her journey to America and her new life with an adoptive family of her own. And as Imani reads the diary, she begins to see her family, and her place in it, in a whole new way.

The War I Finally Won book
#12
The War I Finally Won
Written and illustrated by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

A New York Times bestseller Like the classic heroines of Sarah, Plain and Tall, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables, Ada is a fighter for the ages. Her triumphant World War II journey continues in this sequel to the Newbery Honor-winning The War that Saved My Life When Ada's clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she's not what her mother said she was--damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She's not a daughter anymore, either. Who is she now? World War II rages on, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, move with their guardian, Susan, into a cottage with the iron-faced Lady Thorton and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded home is tense. Then Ruth moves in. Ruth, a Jewish girl, from Germany. A German? Could Ruth be a spy? As the fallout from war intensifies, calamity creeps closer, and life during wartime grows even more complicated. Who will Ada decide to be? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?

My Chocolate Year book
#13
My Chocolate Year
Written by Charlotte Herman and illustrated by LeUyen Pham
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

In 1945 Chicago, as her Jewish family anxiously awaits news of relatives left behind in Europe, ten-year-old Dorrie learns new recipes in the hope of winning a baking competition at school. Includes recipes for various foods, from chocolate pudding to chocolate mandelbread.

Pocket Bios: Anne Frank book
#14
Pocket Bios: Anne Frank
Written and illustrated by Al Berenger
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Born into a Jewish family in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1929, Anne Frank was only thirteen years old when her family went into hiding to escape persecution during the Holocaust. Anne kept a diary detailing their years spent living in a concealed room behind a bookcase prior to their arrest-a diary so widely published following her death that it is one of the period's most influential books.These colorful, pocket-size biographies are full of personality, introducing readers to fascinating figures from history with simple storytelling and cheerful illustrations. Pocket Bios titles include men and women from history, exploration, the sciences, the arts, the ancient world, and more.

Is It Rosh Hashanah Yet? book
#15
Is It Rosh Hashanah Yet?
Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

As summer ends and fall settles in, a family prepares to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. It’s time to pick apples, make cards, light the candles, and eat brisket to ring in the new year!

Is It Hanukkah Yet? book
#16
Is It Hanukkah Yet?
Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From snow on the ground to making applesauce and latkes to lighting the menorah, this sweet, lyrical story shows the seasonal and traditional ways we know Hanukkah is on its way.

Is It Sukkot Yet? book
#17
Is It Sukkot Yet?
Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The first sights of fall arrive—pumpkins, gourds, and colorful leaves—and that means that Sukkot is almost here. Sukkot is the Jewish holiday celebrating the fall harvest and commemorating the time when the children of Israel spent forty years wandering the desert and living in temporary shelters (rebuilt as a sukkah during Sukkot). Soft illustrations and thoughtful gentle text pair for a charming invitation for children to celebrate the joyful holiday.

Is it Passover Yet? book
#18
Is it Passover Yet?
Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It’s time to clean the house, set out our best dishes, and fill our homes with food and family to celebrate the joyous holiday of Passover! In this sweet story, join one family as they gather with loved ones to share the joy of togetherness and freedom that Passover brings.

Passover Family book
#19
Passover Family
Written and illustrated by Monique Polak
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A photographic board book that focuses on family coming together to celebrate the Jewish festival of Passover. Teach babies and toddlers about this important Jewish festival by exploring what happens during the Passover seder with this delightful photographic board book. This primer features family and friends coming together to share a meal, tell stories and sing songs, and encourages littles ones to participate in this special time. Children of all faiths will enjoy the bright photos and primary text that focuses on bringing family together to celebrate and observe a holiday tradition.

Is It Purim Yet? book
#20
Is It Purim Yet?
Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It's nearly spring, which means it's time to celebrate the cheerful Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim recounts the time when Esther, Queen of Persia, saved the Jews from the evil Haman, who wanted to execute the Jewish people. It's a time to dress up in costumes, fill the hamantashen, swing the noisemakers, and read the Megillah scroll. Join a family as they celebrate the bravery of Queen Esther and the joy of being together.

A Moon for Moe and Mo book
#21
A Moon for Moe and Mo
Written by Jane Breskin Zalbin and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

An interfaith friendship develops when Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, overlaps with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan--an occurence that happens only once every thirty years or so. Moses Feldman, a Jewish boy, lives at one end of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, while Mohammed Hassan, a Muslim boy, lives at the other. One day they meet at Sahadi's market while out shopping with their mothers and are mistaken for brothers. A friendship is born, and the boys bring their families together to share rugelach and date cookies in the park as they make a wish for peace.

Irving Berlin book
#22
Irving Berlin
Written by Nancy Churnin and illustrated by James Rey Sanchez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Irving Berlin came to the United States as a refugee from Tsarist Russia, escaping a pogrom that destroyed his village. Growing up on the streets of the lower East Side, the rhythms of jazz and blues inspired his own song-writing career. Starting with his first big hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Berlin created the soundtrack for American life with his catchy tunes and irresistible lyrics. With "God Bless America," he sang his thanks to the country which had given him a home and a chance to express his creative vision.

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy book
#23
Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-9

A moving biography of the late Leonard Nimoy, the iconic Spock from Star Trek, whose story exemplifies the American experience and the power of pursuing your dreams.

A is for Abraham book
#24
A is for Abraham
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Ron Mazellan
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

From Abraham to Zayde, and from ancient times to modern day, A is for Abraham: A Jewish Family Alphabetencompasses the history of Jewish traditions and customs and how they are still popularly practiced today. Following the alphabet, a poem identifies the letter topic while sidebar text provides background information. C could be the challah that my bubbe used to braid, or C could be the chicken soup, when I was sick she made, or chocolate coins on Chanukah we added to our coffers. But I say C should be for chai, to “life” and all it offers. This joyful celebration of family and heritage includes the meaning behind celebrations such as the Festival of Lights, Passover, and Sukkot; important names and stories from the Old Testament; and how modern-day families continue to celebrate their heritage.

As Good As Anybody book
#25
As Good As Anybody
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Raul Colon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A Baptist preacher from Atlanta. A rabbi born in Poland. Their names came to stand for the struggle for justice and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. grew up in a loving family in the American South, at a time when many of this country’s doors were closed to African Americans. He aimed to open those doors. He became a minister like his daddy, and he preached and marched for his cause. Abraham Joshua Heschel grew up in a loving family in a Europe that did not welcome Jews. He found a new home in America, where he was a rabbi like his father, carrying a message of peace and acceptance. Martin put out a call for others to join him. Abraham knew he must answer Martin’s call. Here is the story of how two men formed a remarkable friendship and turned their personal experiences of discrimination into a message of love and equality for all.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!