35 Kids 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.

Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein book
#4
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!

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.

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.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? book
#7
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.

The Story of Hanukkah book
#8
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.

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.

Is It Rosh Hashanah Yet? book
#10
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
#11
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
#12
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
#13
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.

Is It Purim Yet? book
#14
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
#15
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
#16
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
#17
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
#18
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
#19
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.

Too Young for Yiddish book
#20
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.

The Eighth Menorah book
#21
The Eighth Menorah
Written by Lauren L Wohl and illustrated by Laura Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hanukkah is a few weeks away, and Sam can't wait to celebrate with his family, especially his grandma. At Sunday school, everyone in his class is busy making clay menorahs to give as Hanukkah gifts! Sam likes how his menorah is turning out, but he’s worried—his family already has seven menorahs! Will they want another one? His teacher reassures him that his parents will love it, but Sam is determined to solve this problem on his own and find the perfect home for his menorah. Sam’s dilemma in this sweet and simple Hanukkah story is one that rings true for kids and their families.

The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin book
#22
The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin
Written by Martha Seif Simpson and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

“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.

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.

Around the Passover Table book
#24
Around the Passover Table
Written by Tracy Newman and illustrated by Adriana Santos
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The candles are lit, the seder plate filled, and the matzo stacked high. Join in to read, sing, eat, and observe the holiday. The many steps of a Passover seder are portrayed in this rhyming story.

Sadie's Snowy Tu B'Shevat book
#25
Sadie's Snowy Tu B'Shevat
Written by Jamie Korngold and illustrated by Julie Fortenberry
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

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.

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