Joel Edward Stein and Elisa Vavouri, Kar-Ben Publishing
Misha, a poor artist, has no one to celebrate Hanukkah with until he discovers a hungry cat in his barn. The lucky little cat, whom Misha names Mazel, inspires Misha to turn each night of Hanukkah into something special. He doesn't have money for Hanukkah candles, but he can use his artistic skills to bring light to his home―as Mazel brings good luck to his life.
Barbara Diamond Goldin and Steliyana Doneva, Behrman House/Apples & Honey Press
Raya can't be in the Purim play this year--Purim will be no fun at all! But, Raya's grandmother, Maman joon, shares her sparkly scarves and Persian traditions with her. Together they discover how to make their American Purim uniquley Persian, delicious, and fun.
Abuelita tells Jacob that "long ago" his Jewish family fled the Spanish Inquisition, fearing persecution they kept their Jewish identity secret and passed on this secret history to just one person in each generation, as Abuelita is doing to Jacob.
Inspired by a true account, here is the compelling story of a child who arrives in America on the slave ship Amistad—and eventually makes her way home to Africa. Narrated in a remarkable first-person voice, this fictionalized book of memories of a real-life figure retells history through the eyes of a child. Lush, full-color illustrations by Robert Byrd, plus archival photographs and documents, bring an extraordinary journey to life.
Angela Johnson and EB Lewis, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond.
Carolivia Herron and Jeremy Tugeau, Kar-Ben Publishing
In 1805, a Jewish woman comes to America,kidnapped by pirates finding herself living among the Geechee people, who come from West Africa. Although her descendants no longer live as Jews, in each generation that follows, a daughter lights the Shabbat candles each Friday night in her memory.
Rahel Musleah and Judy Jarrett Gier (Illustrator), Kar-Ben Publishing
Author Rahel Musleah, who grew up in Calcutta, India, presents a Sephardic Rosh Hashanah seder observed throughout the world. This special service incorporates blessings, songs, and even folk tales relating to each of the eight foods eaten, and will guide participants through this joyous seder. Traditional holiday recipes are included.
Richard Michelson and Raul Colon, Knopf Books for Young Readers
Michelson describes what led Martin Luther King Jr., a southern minister, and Abraham Joshua Heschel, a German-born rabbi, to walk together in the famous 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
Frances, a Japanese-Jewish girl, has always felt isolated at her New England prep school, but more so now that her brother has died. When Frances joins the social services charity her brother belonged to, she discovers that all is not as it seems, and realizes how little she really knew him.
Set in modern-day New York City, Bluish is a novel about a budding friendship between three preteen girls, one of whom is afflicted with a form of blood cancer. Dreenie is the primary character of the novel. She is made anxious and curious when a new girl is introduced into her fifth-grade class.
A Jewish holiday book that welcomes the diversity of American Jewish children and their families. Chag Sameach! provides an introduction to the Jewish year. All kinds of people and families are included. The text and more than 20 black and white photographs can be shared with a three year old and read by a nine year old. It is for both Jewish families and those who would like to teach their children about other people's traditions.
The boy is teased for looking different than the other kids. His skin is darker, his hair curlier. He tells his mother he wishes he could be more like everyone else. And she helps him to see how beautiful he really, truly is.
Clapping, counting and musical rhymes and fingerplays introduce Shabbat and the Jewish holidays to preschoolers in a participatory way. Four dozen rhymes include old favorites and many original poems. With easy-to-learn words and bright, adorable pictures. An ideal gift for any occasion.
Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. When her Black mom and Jewish dad split up, she relocates to her mom's family home in Harlem and is forced to confront her identity for the first time.
In 939 B.C.E. a daring girl and her priestly Jewish family journey from Jerusalem to Ethiopia with the son of Solomon and Sheba secretly transporting the Ark of the Covenant, the most important symbol of their faith.
Michael J. Rosen and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Voyager Books
Michael and Elijah are friends, but when Elijah gives Michael one of his special carved angels, Michael doesn’t know what to do. How can he possibly take home a Christmas angel, a forbidden graven image--especially on Chanukah?
Rose A. Lewis and Jane Dyer, ittle, Brown Books for Young Readers
In I Love You Like Crazy Cakes, Rose Lewis and Jane Dyer told the heartfelt story of one woman's adoption a baby girl from China. These sentiments are brought to life again in this touching portrait of birthday celebrations and unforgettable moments between a mother and her little girl.
Harriet Ziefert and Karla Gudeon, Blue Apple Books
Here's a cultural crossover that pays off: a traditionally Japanese poetic form used to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah. There's one haiku for each night, and stepped pages add one candle to the menorah every time the page is turned. The simple poetry is set off perfectly by Karla Gudeon's vibrant, freewheeling artwork. A perfect gift, or good to reread each year, Hanukkah Haiku is a jubilant, unforgettable journey through the eight nights of Hanukkah.
Deborah Heiligman, National Geographic Children's Books
The most celebrated holiday in the Jewish year, Passover commemorates the Exodus of Hebrew slaves from Egypt to freedom over 3,500 years ago. This colorful book explores the many forms that this weeklong celebration takes worldwide.
Mychal Copland and Andre Coelin, Apples & Honey Press
The Torah is called the Tree of Life. Just as a tree is always growing and changing, the Torah's ideas can help us grow and change, too. Yoda can do the same. Both can help us strengthen ourselves, calm our minds, and learn to appreciate the world around us.
While trying to decide what to take for his school's International Day, Pablo helps his Mexican mother and Jewish father at their bakery and discovers a food that represents both his parents' backgrounds.
Drew Nelson, Vaunda Micheaux Nelson and Mark Schroder, First Avenue Edition
June 19th, 1865, began as another hot day in Texas. Enslaved African Americans worked in fields, in barns, and in the homes of the white people who owned them. Then a message arrived. Freedom! Slavery had ended! The Civil War had actually ended in April. It took two months for word to reach Texas. Still the joy of that amazing day has never been forgotten. Every year, people all over the United States come together on June 19th to celebrate the end of slavery. Join in the celebration of Juneteenth, a day to remember and honor freedom for all people.
Award-winning writer and illustrator Floyd Cooper has created a book that is appropriate for young learners looking to understand the history and customs of Juneteenth. As Mazie settles into bed, her father tells her about the celebrations that will happen tomorrow on Juneteenth by starting with family history and the story forward through 2015, the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. The customs and traditions of the holiday are also explained. Ages: 4-9 years of age
Carole Boston Weatherford and Yvonne Buchanan, Lee & Low Books
Joining her parents in a community celebration of Juneteenth, Cassie learns about the day when slaves in Texas were freed some two years after the Emancipation Proclamation and wonders why the news took so long to reach them.
Ying Ying Fry and Terry Fry, Yeong & Yeong Book Company
In this first view of China adoption from a child's perspective, eight-year-old Ying Ying Fry returns to her orphanage to remember what it is like and to write a story so that other adopted children will understand where they came from.
Blu Greenberg, Linda Tarry and Avi Katz, Crocodile Books(Inteu)
An imaginative tale of the story of King Solomon and Princess Makeda from Ethiopia, who marries the Hebrew king and becomes the Queen of Sheba. Their bi-racial son, Ben LeHaham-Menelik sets off to meet his father in the land of Israel and then returns with many Jewish people to help him run his kingdom.
The powerful, award-winning story of Ruth, a young Cuban immigrant who is just starting to get a handle on the English language and American customs when she's in a terrible car accident. Out of hardship can often come strength, and this novel of hope and self-discovery is perfect for readers in middle school who are looking for strong, emotional, realistic fiction.
Cheri Holland and Rosalyn Schanzer, Kar-Ben Publishing
A counting book describing how the children have fun during the eight nights of Hanukkah, making cards, exchanging gifts, chanting blessings, and singing songs. The main character is a Jewish boy of African descent.
March is a vivid first-hand account of John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights, meditating in the modern age on the distance traveled since the days of Jim Crow and segregation. Rooted in Lewis' personal story, it also reflects on the highs and lows of the broader civil rights movement.
To carry out their nonviolent revolution, Lewis and an army of young activists launch a series of innovative campaigns, including the Freedom Vote, Mississippi Freedom Summer, and an all-out battle for the soul of the Democratic Party waged live on national television.
After the success of the Nashville sit-in campaign, John Lewis is more committed than ever to changing the world through nonviolence — but as he and his fellow Freedom Riders board a bus into the vicious heart of the deep south, they will be tested like never before.
Langston Hughes and Charles R. Smith Jr., Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Langston Hughes's spare yet eloquent tribue to his people has been cherished for generations. Now, acclaimed photographer Charles R. Smith Jr. interprets this beloved poem in vivid sepia photographs that capture the glory, the beauty, and the soul of being a black American today.
Karen Fisman and Martha Aviles, Kar-Ben Publishing
Rachel loves visiting her Italian grandmother, even though Nonna celebrates Christmas and Rachel and her parents celebrate Hanukkah. Rachel plans to share Hanukkah with her whole family, so when Rachel's special hanukkiah goes missing, Nonna steps in to save the day.
Maddie has just moved to Israel and is excited to celebrate the Ethiopian Jewish holiday of Sigd with her new friend Orly. But what about her own favorite fall holiday, Thanksgiving? Will Maddie be able to celebrate it in her new country? She's determined to find out! Illustrated by Denise Damanti.
Based closely on the Book of Esther and featuring childlike artwork that captures the trappings of the period, a spirited retelling of the Purim story celebrates the Queen Esther's brave defense of the Jews against the king's tyrannical prime minister.
Nathalie Soussana, Paul Mindy, Jean-Christophe Hoarau and Beatrice Alemagna, The Secret Mountain
An extraordinary repertoire featuring 28 Jewish nursery rhymes, lullabies, and songs originating from the Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Yemenite communities. Additional notes on the origin and cultural context of each song as well as on the Klezmer music are also included.
When Joey’s mother dies, he is sent to live with his mother’s estranged family. Joey is whisked away to Brooklyn. Though it’s just across town, it might as well be a different world. His grandfather, his aunt Frieda, and his ten-year-old cousin Roberta are not only white, they are Jewish.
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.
Jenny Koralek and Grizelda Holderness, Eerdmans Pub Co
Long, long ago in the land of Egypt, a Hebrew mother and her daughter, Miriam, hide a newborn baby boy in a basket that they float down the Nile River to save the childs life. Rescued from the river by the Egyptian princess, Pharoahs daughter, the boy is named Moses. When he grows up, he leads the Israelite people out of slavery. Beautifully retold and sumptuously illustrated, this picture book presentation of a favorite Bible story will delight young readers.
Devorah’s world is shattered by the tragedies of post–Great War Europe: gas poisoning, famine, typhoid, and influenza. Then comes the Night of the Burning, when Cossacks provoke Christian Poles to attack their Jewish neighbors.
It is Friday evening, and the sun is about to set. If you are Jewish, you are probably getting ready to light candles, say blessings, and eat delicious food. What is the special occasion? It is the Sabbath, or the Day of Rest.
Sonia Nadhamuni is half-Jewish, half-Indian but she isn’t sure how she identifies. Neither of her parents are particularly observant and now that she is no longer in a small, private school her new classmates ask lots of questions about her identity. Her skin is dark, but she doesn’t identify as black and in her new school she sees the way black and white students segregate.
Veera Hiranandani, Delacorte Books for Young Readers
After her father loses his job, Sonia Nadhamuni, half Indian and half Jewish American, finds herself yanked out of private school and thrown into the unfamiliar world of public education. For the first time, Sonia's mixed heritage makes her classmates ask questions—questions Sonia doesn't always know how to answer—as she navigates between a group of popular girls who want her to try out for the cheerleading squad and other students who aren't part of the "in" crowd.
Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg, Scholastic Inc
David Da-Wei Horowitz has a lot on his plate. Preparing for his upcoming bar mitzvah would be enough work even if it didn't involve trying to please his Jewish and Chinese grandmothers, who argue about everything. But David just wants everyone to be happy.
Auntie Sanyu builds a sukkah in her Ugandan garden. Curious wildlife―the Warthog, the Lion, the Giraffe, the Elephant, and other animals―come to celebrate the Sukkot holiday. They all want to shake the lulav and smell the etrog, but will selfish Warthog learn to share?
Sylvia Rouss and Tamar Blumenfeld, Apples & Honey Press
Now a young man in Israel, Yosef remembers his past in Ethiopia, and the dream he had as a child, in which he was given a choice. Should he climb mountains with Gazelle, never belonging anywhere? Hide in the shadows, with Hyena? Or grab hold of Eagle s wings and be taken far, far away?
William Bell, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing;
Zack is the son of an unlikely but happy marriage: his mother is a black blues singer and his father is a white Jewish college professor. Zack is resentful and bitter toward his parents for moving–in his last year of high school–from Toronto to a small college town in the country. Zack goes on a journey in search of his roots where he discovers a part of himself that he never knew, and that racism can be a double-edged sword.
Sheri Sinykin and Kristina Swarner, Peachtree Publishing Company
In this touching, simple story, a young Jewish girl named Rachel tries to make peace with the impending death of her grandfather.
Add to Our List
Do you have any favorite diverse books that are missing from our list? We welcome suggestions of children's books about Jewish identity and diversity for pre-K to young adult readers. Please contact us to share your suggestions.
Search the world's largest online archive of material about Jewish diversity.
Click on the map below to explore the places Jews have lived throughout history.
Support Our Work
Help us build a more inclusive Jewish community with a tax-deductible donation. With your support, we can continue to raise awareness about the diversity of Jewish identity and experience, and work toward a more racially-just society.