Book Lists

Book Lists

Jewish American Heritage Month

Books featuring Jewish American authors and themes.

Jewish American Heritage Month Picture Books

Books for kids to about 8 years old.

G, Mister, author.
"Text based on a Hebrew lullaby tells the story of a Jewish refugee family traveling by night to find a safe home in a new land"-- Provided by publisher.

Kimmelman, Leslie, author.
A tour of Israel profiles such sites as the Old City of Jerusalem, modern Tel Aviv, and the Biblical Zoo while introducing the region's diverse cultures and customs.

Taback, Simms.
A very old overcoat is recycled numerous times into a variety of garments.

Edwards, Michelle, author.
Sophia knits a special hat for her elderly neighbor and knitting teacher, Mrs. Goldman.

Markel, Michelle.
An illustrated account of immigrant Clara Lemlich's pivotal role in the influential 1909 women laborer's strike describes how she worked grueling hours to acquire an education and support her family before organizing a massive walkout to protest the unfair working conditions in New York's garment district.

Taback, Simms.
J 398.2 TAB
Thirteen brief, illustrated, traditional Jewish tales, each accompanied by an appropriate saying.

Samuel, Sigal, author.
Osnat Barzani, also known as Asnat or Asenath Barzani, the world's first female rabbi, was born almost five hundred years ago, during a time when few girls were allowed to read. Her father was a great scholar whose house was filled with books, and she convinced him to teach her. She grew up to teach others, becoming a wise and famous scholar in her own right.-- Adapted from inside front jacket flap,, and a Jerusalem Post article about the book.

Perlov, Betty Rosenberg.
A young girl's family is part of a Yiddish theater performance group active in New York City.

Gelfand, Shoshana Boyd, author.
J 398.2089 GEL
These stories are for sharing. Gathered from many times and places, they explore the questions that challenge all of us: Why do bad things happen to good people? Is it more important to be kind or to be clever? Is truth the highest value? What happens after we die? Collected by Rabbi Shoshana Boyd Gelfand, these are tales to read together, talk about and above all to enjoy. Pass them on!

Schram, Peninnah.
J 398.2 SCH
A collection of classic Jewish folktales which emphasize values and moral lessons, each with an introduction that places it in context with other Jewish teachings.

Schwartz, Amy.
Tired of kindergarten, Bea Jones trades "jobs" with her father, who works in an office.

Wayland, April Halprin.
On Rosh Hashanah, Izzy and his family make lists of the wrongs they have committed over the past year, and after they have apologized, they throw pieces of bread into the water to "clean their hearts" in a ceremony called tashlich.

Forest, Heather.
J 398.2 FOR
Unable to stand his overcrowded and noisy home any longer, a man goes to the wise old woman who lives nearby for advice.

Singer, Marilyn, author.
J 811.54 SIN
"This warm and engaging poetry collection that follows a family of five as they discover and celebrate all of the Jewish holidays"-- Provided by publisher.

Behar, Ruth, 1956- author.
Hogar significa esperanza en tiempos de cambio. Hogar significa mazal bueno en un nuevo comienzo. Hogar es una llave a las historias de familia que no se ovidan.

Behar, Ruth, 1956- author.
Estrella learns about her Cuban and Jewish heritage as she helps her aunt move from her Miami apartment to an assisted living community.

Newman, Lesléa, author.
Inside the house, a boy prepares for the Passover ritual of welcoming Elijah--meanwhile, outside the house, a kitten lingers in the cold.

Newman, Tracy, 1971- author.
"Before becoming one of the greatest violinists of all time, Itzhak Perlman was simply a boy who loved music. Raised by a poor immigrant family in a tiny Tel Aviv apartment, baby Itzhak was transformed by the sounds from his family’s kitchen radio—graceful classical symphonies, lively klezmer tunes, and soulful cantorial chants. The rich melodies and vibrant rhythms spoke to him like magic, filling his mind with vivid rainbows of color. After begging his parents for an instrument, Itzhak threw his heart and soul into playing the violin. Despite enormous obstacles—including a near-fatal bout of polio that left him crippled for life—Itzhak persevered, honing his extraordinary gift. When he performed on the Ed Sullivan Show sat only 13, audiences around the world were mesmerized by the warmth, joy, and passion in every note. Gorgeously illustrated with extensive back matter, this picture-book biography recounts Itzhak’s childhood journey—from a boy with a dream to an internationally acclaimed violin virtuoso." --

Cohen, Paula (Illustrator), author, illustrator.
When the opportunity arises, Shirley, the daughter of immigrants who live above their corner grocery store, turns some overlooked gefilte fish into a marketing strategy that changes the flavor of the neighborhood.

Jewish American Heritage Juvenile Literature

Books for kids 8 and over

Blume, Judy, author.
Faced with the difficulties of growing up and choosing a religion, a twelve-year-old girl talks over her problems with her own private God.

Winter, Jonah, 1962-
In this striking picture book biography, an old-timer tells us what made Sandy Koufax so amazing. We learn that the beginning of his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers was rocky, that he was shy with his teammates, and experienced discrimination as one of the only Jews in the game. We hear that he actually quit, only to return the next season--different--firing one rocket after another over the plate. We watch him refuse to play in the 1965 World Series because it is a Jewish high holy day. And we see him in pain because of an overused left arm, eventually retiring at the peak of his career. Finally, we are told that people are still "scratchin' their heads over Sandy," who remains a modest hero and a mystery to this day.

Pasternack, Sofiya, author.
In an alternate ninth century, twelve-year-old Anya and a new friend face a Viking and a Tsar to protect the water dragon that saved her life, putting her family's home at risk.

Blume, Judy
Sheila Tubman sometimes wonders who she really is: the outgoing, witty, and capable Sheila the Great, or the secret Sheila, who's afraid of the dark, spiders, swimming, and dogs. When her family spends the summer in Tarrytown, Sheila has to face some of her worst fears. Not only does a dog come with the rented house, but her parents expect Sheila to take swimming lessons! Sheila does her best to pretend she's an expert at everything, but she knows she isn't fooling her new best friend, Mouse Ellis, who happens to be a crackerjack swimmer and a dog lover. What will it take for Sheila to admit to the Tarrytown kids — and to herself — that she's only human?
This electronic resource is available through the SCPL catalog.
View on SCPL catalog

Deutsch, Barry.
Eleven-year-old Mirka Herschberg dreams of fighting dragons and spends her days honing her skills, even though there are no dragons in her Orthodox Jewish community, but when she accepts a challenge from a mysterious witch, Mirka just might win her dragon-fighting sword after all.

Perl, Erica S., author.
While preparing for their bar mitzvahs, comedy-obsessed Noah and Dash find their friendship threatened by a personal tragedy.

Taylor, Sydney, 1904-1978.
The adventures of five sisters growing up in a Jewish family in New York in the early twentieth century.

Mercado, Yehudi, author, illustrations.
"Hudi needs to lose weight, according to his doctors. Concerned about the serious medical issue Hudi had when he was younger, his parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot. As the only Mexican and Jewish kid in his neighborhood, Hudi has found the cheerleader he never had. Baseball doesn't go well (unless getting hit by the ball counts), but the two friends have a great time drawing and making jokes. While Hudi's parents keep trying to find the right sport for Hudi, Chunky encourages him to pursue his true love--comedy. But when Hudi's dad loses his job, it gets harder for Hudi to chart his own course, even with Chunky's guidance. Can Chunky help Hudi stay true to himself or will this friendship strike out?" -- Jacket flap.

Kapit, Sarah, author.
Eleven-year-old knuckleball pitcher Vivy Cohen, who has autism, becomes pen pals with her favorite Major League baseball player after writing a letter to him as an assignment for her social skills class.

Weissman, Elissa Brent, author.
Twelve-year-old Imani, the only black girl in Hebrew school, is preparing for her bat mitzvah and hoping to find her birthparents when she discovers the history of adoption in her own family through her great-grandma Anna's Holocaust-era diary.

J 398.2 IN
A collection of stories from the early- and mid-20th century Yiddish literary tradition, in a variety of genres, by Eastern European writers such as Moyshe Nadir, Jacob Reisfeder, and Sonya Kantor.

Alexander, Lori, author.
"Telling the inspiring human story behind the creation of the Paralympics, this chapter book biography artfully combines archival photos, full-color illustrations, and a riveting narrative to honor the life of Ludwig Guttmann, whose work profoundly changed so many lives"-- Provided by publisher.

Rosenstock, Barb, author.
"Known for both his paintings and stained-glass windows, Marc Chagall rose from humble beginnings to become one of the world's most renowned artists. Admired for his use of color and the powerful emotion in his work, Chagall led a career that spanned decades and continents, and he never stopped growing. This lyrical narrative shows readers, through many different windows, the pre-WWI childhood and wartime experiences that shaped Chagall's path."--Publisher's description.

Levinson, Cynthia, author.
""The first thing I can remember," Ben said, "I drew." As an observant young child growing up in Lithuania, Ben Shahn yearns to draw everything he sees-and, after seeing his father banished by the Czar for demanding workers' rights, he develops a keen sense of justice, too. So when Ben and the rest of his family make their way to America, Ben brings with him both his sharp artistic eye and his desire to fight for what's right. As he grows, he speaks for justice through his art-from challenging classmates who bully him for being Jewish, to resisting his teachers' calls to paint beautiful landscapes in favor of painting stories true to life, to using his work to urge the US government to pass Depression-era laws that help people find food and security. In this moving and timely portrait, award-winning author and illustrator Cynthia Levinson and Evan Turk honor an artist, immigrant, and activist whose work still resonates today: a true painter for the people"-- Provided by publisher.

Drazin, Meira, author.
When eleven-year-old Milla's best friend Honey joins her school for sixth grade Milla finds herself in her friend's shadow, but as the year progresses through the Jewish holidays Milla trys to cope with the tensions and the dramas of school--including the death of a beloved teacher.