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Jewish: Books For Kids

This list of the best kids books about Jewish is sure to include a new favorite for the voracious young reader in your life! From The Trees of the Dancing Goats to My Chocolate Year there's something here for everyone's tastes. Do you have a favorite book about Jewish? Let us know!

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.

Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein book
#3
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!

It Rained Warm Bread book
#4
It Rained Warm Bread
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-14

Moishe was thirteen when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939 and he was sent to Auschwitz. His home was ravaged, his family torn apart by illness and abduction. Years of brutality drew on as Moishe moved from one labor camp to the next. Finally, towards the end of the war and at the peak of Moishe’s deepest despair, a simple act of kindness by a group of courageous Czech women redeemed his faith that goodness could survive the trials of war: That was the day it rained warm bread. Deftly articulated and beautifully illustrated, this is a strong addition to the ever-important genre of Holocaust testimonies.

Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah book
#5
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.

  1. Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale - 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.

  2. My First Chanukah - 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.

  3. The War I Finally Won - 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?

  4. The Brave Princess and Me - Princess Alice of Greece is known for her kindness. Born deaf, she knows what it is like to be discriminated against. In 1943 the Second World War is raging, and the Nazis have taken control of Greece. All Jews in the country are in danger, including young Tilde Cohen and her mother, Rachel. On the run, they are in search of a safe place to hide from the Nazis. When they arrive unannounced on Princess Alice's doorstep, begging her to shelter them, the princess's kindness is put to the test.

Five Little Gefiltes book
#10
Five Little Gefiltes
Written and illustrated by Dave Horowitz
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

When five curious young gefilte fish have the chutzpah to sneak out of their jar and set off to explore the world, they are followed by a loud OY VEY!—Mama Gefilte isn’t too happy to see her little ones leaving the nest. But she’s taught them well, and at the end of their adventures, each one proves himself a mensch—making Mama one proud gefilte indeed. Dave Horowitz’s playful rhyming tale, its illustrations packed with comic asides, will have readers giggling out loud and looking for opportunities to practice their Yiddish—with help from the handy glossary at the end of the book.

As Good As Anybody book
#11
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.

The Length of a String book
#12
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 Boy on the Wooden Box book
#13
The Boy on the Wooden Box
Written by Leon Leyson
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 9-14

Traces the story of Holocaust survivor Leon Leyson, who was the youngest child in his family and possibly the youngest of the hundreds of Jews rescued by Oskar Schindler.

Irving Berlin book
#14
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.

  1. How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? - 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.

  2. The Story of Hanukkah - 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.

  3. Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama - 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.

  4. The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin - “This dreidel doesn’t work!” the father had cried. “What do you mean? How can a dreidel not work?” the shopkeeper asked. It was certainly the most beautiful spinning top the shopkeeper had ever seen, with magical golden letters on its sides. But it just would not spin for two spoiled children who insisted on owning it! Later, the shopkeeper decides to try it one last time: would it spin for another child, one who carried the true spirit of Hanukkah in his heart? In this beautiful holiday story by award-winning author Martha Simpson, and brought to life by the imaginative illustrations of award-winning illustrator D. Yael Bernhard, the happiness and joy of the Hanukkah miracle will warm the heart of young and old alike with its simple message: wonders still occur for those who are ready for them. Included is a useful appendix that explains Hanukkah, and an explanation on how to play the dreidel game.

Too Young for Yiddish book
#19
Too Young for Yiddish
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Neil Waldman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-11

Aaron loves his grandfather very much, even if he is a little bit embarrassed by Zayde’s funny accent and the way he waves his arms when he talks. Aaron longs to read his grandfather’s treasured books, but when he asks to learn Yiddish, the language Zayde spoke in the Old Country, Zayde refuses. In America, Aaron is told, Jews should speak and read English just like everyone else. As the years pass, Zayde grows old, and Aaron grows up. It isn’t until Zayde himself abandons his heritage that they both realize the importance of preserving their family history and culture. Aaron and Zayde’s bond grows even deeper as they realize you’re never too young-or too old-for Yiddish.

Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy book
#20
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.

Here Is the World book
#21
Here Is the World
Written and illustrated by Leslea Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

Here is the world, ever changing and new, Spinning with joy at the wonder of you! Here Is the World is a joyous celebration of the Jewish holidays throughout the year for young children. Beginning with the weekly observance of Shabbat, readers join a family through the holidays and the corresponding seasons. From sounding the shofar on Rosh Hashanah to lighting the menorah for Chanukah to rattling a grogger for Purim, and on through the Jewish year, the joy and significance of each holiday beautifully come to life.

A Moon for Moe and Mo book
#22
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.

All-of-a-kind Family Hannukah book
#23
All-of-a-kind Family Hannukah
Written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The beloved characters from Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family return in this heartwarming picture book from a critically adored team—perfect for Hanukkah gift-giving! "Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long." — Kirkus Review, starred review Acclaimed author Emily Jenkins (A Greyhound, a Groundhog) and Caldecott Award-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky (Rapunzel) bring the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family to life in a new format. Fans, along with those just meeting the five girls ("all of a kind," as their parents say), will join them back in 1912, on the Lower East Side of NYC, and watch as preparations for Hanukkah are made. When Gertie, the youngest, is not allowed to help prepare latkes, she throws a tantrum. Banished to the girls' bedroom, she can still hear the sounds and smell the smells of a family getting ready to celebrate. But then Papa comes home and she is allowed out—and given the best job of all: lighting the first candle on the menorah. First published in 1951, Taylor's chapter books have become time-honored favorites, selling over a million copies and touching generations of readers. In this time when immigrants often do not feel accepted, the All-of-a-Kind Family gives a heartwarming glimpse of a Jewish immigrant family and their customs that is as relevant—and necessary—today as when it was first written. Jenkins and Zelinsky's charming compliment to Taylor's series perfectly captures the warmth and family values that made the original titles classics.

  1. My First Jewish Baby Book - 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.

  2. Jewish Holidays All Year Round - Explains the origins and meaning of the major Jewish holidays, describes how they are observed, and suggests related crafts and recipes.

  3. Sadie's Snowy Tu B'Shevat - Sadie wants to plant a tree for Tu B'Shevat. But it's the middle of winter! Her parents and grandfather assure her that a tree can't take root in the frozen ground. But with help from brother Ori and Grandma, Sadie learns why the tree-planting holiday is celebrated in winter and finds her own special ways to celebrate it.

  4. A is for Abraham - 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.

Is It Purim Yet? book
#28
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 Sweet Passover book
#29
A Sweet Passover
Written by Leslea Newman and illustrated by David Slonim, Leslea Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-7

In this charming and humorous story, Miriam discovers—with the help of her family and a little matzah bread—the true meaning and importance of Passover. Miriam loves spending time with her family during Passover, and all week long she is happy to eat lots of matzah. But when she wakes up on the last day of the holiday, she is sick of matzah and refuses to eat it ever again. Then Grandpa makes his special matzah brei for the whole family, and Miriam learns there's more to Passover than just the matzah.

Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons book
#30
Rabbi Benjamin’s Buttons
Written by Alice B. McGinty and illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Rabbi Benjamin loves his congregation, and they love him. That’s why on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the Rabbi’s congregation presents him with a special holiday vest with four silver buttons and decorated with designs symbolizing the major holidays celebrated throughout the year. Rabbi Benjamin loves it! He also loves all the holiday treats that his families proudly fill him with-including delicious, crispy latkes; scrumptious matzoh-ball soup; irresistible apple torte; and honey cake. As the year passes, Rabbi Benjamin’s beautiful vest stretches tighter and tighter across his belly, and one by one the shiny silver buttons pop!-pop!-pop! off. When summer comes, Rabbi helps his congregation with their gardening, with the hiding of Chanukah presents, with the apple picking, and the fishing. Will all this hard work help Rabbi fit into his beautiful vest when Rosh Hashanah rolls around again?

The Language of Angels book
#31
The Language of Angels
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Karla Gudeon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

In 1885, few Jews in Israel used the holy language of their ancestors, and Hebrew was in danger of being lost—until Ben Zion and his father got involved. Through the help of his father and a community of children, Ben modernized the ancient language, creating a lexicon of new, modern words to bring Hebrew back into common usage. Historically influenced dialogue, engaging characters, and colorful art offer a linguistic journey about how language develops and how one person’s perseverance can make a real difference. Influenced by illuminated manuscripts, Karla Gudeon’s illustrations bring Ben Zion—and the rebirth of Hebrew—to life.

Is it Passover Yet? book
#32
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.

  1. Is It Hanukkah Yet? - 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.

  2. More Than Enough - A family’s Passover celebration is equal parts warmth and charm in this cozy picture book, with the traditional seder song “Dayenu” as the grateful refrain. In this story told in spare, lyrical prose, a Jewish family prepares for their Passover seder, visiting the farmer’s market for walnuts, lilacs, and honey (and adopting a kitten along the way!), then chopping apples for the charoset, and getting dressed up before walking to Nana’s house. The refrain throughout is “Dayenu”—a mind-set of thankfulness, a reminder to be aware of the blessings in each moment. At Nana’s, there’s matzo ball soup, chicken, coconut macaroons, and of course, the hidden afikomen. After opening the door for Elijah and singing the verses of “Chad Gadya,”Nana tucks the children in for a special Passover sleepover. This warm, affectionate story embraces Passover in the spirit of dayenu, and offers a comprehensive glossary—it’s a perfect read for the entire family in anticipation and celebration of the holiday.

  3. Sadie's Sukkah Breakfast - Waking up early in the morning on Sukkot, Sadie and Ori decide to serve breakfast in the sukkah. But when the table is set and the food is ready, they remember that a sukkah celebration needs guests. No one is awake, so who should they invite?

  4. Is It Rosh Hashanah Yet? - 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!

My Chocolate Year book
#37
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.

    Did you enjoy our children's book recommendations? Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!