As you can see, this list of kids books about Yiddish language is a work in progress! We’re currently exploring the best books available, and we’d love your input. If you have a title you’d suggest including on our list of kids books about Yiddish language, please share it with us!
We’ll be featuring a variety of titles on our list, from well known classics to popular bestsellers to lesser known titles that deserve a bigger audience. We’re also including books for a range of ages, from board books for babies and toddlers, to picture books for preschool and kindergarten age kids, to chapter books for early elementary age kids.
We’d love to hear any book suggestions you have—you can comment below or email us at [email protected].
“Stunning.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Inspired…[a] journalistic, propulsive narrative.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
From New York Times Best Illustrated Book artist Stacy Innerst and author Sue Macy comes a story of one man’s heroic effort to save the world’s Yiddish books.
Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day.
Told in a folkloric voice reminiscent of Patricia Polacco, this story celebrates the power of an individual to preserve history and culture, while exploring timely themes of identity and immigration.
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.
Maurice Sendak illustrates his father’s words.
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