Category Archives: Book Lists

Purim and Passover Book List

Thank you to member Andi Davidson for compiling this list of holiday titles.

New for Purim

Cakes and Miracles, a beloved Purim story by Barbara Diamond Goldin, has been republished with engaging new illustrations by Jaime Zollars (Marshall Cavendish, 2010) The slightly shorter text tells the comforting story of a blind boy whose artistic vision inspires him to create fanciful Purim cookies that his mother sells in the village marketplace. As Hershel uses his ability to visualize the cookies in his mind to overcome his disability, he wins the gratitude of his mother, the admiration of their neighbors, and the possibility of a productive future.  For Kdg. – Gr. 3.

Problems in Purimville: A Purim Story by Karen Fisman, illustrated by Wendy Faust (JoRa Books, 2010) is a fanciful story in which two brave children find themselves in Purimville, where gremlins are making trouble, ruining hamentaschen, and spoiling Purimspiel costumes.  With the help of the hamentaschen, they scare the gremlins away and save the holiday.  This charming story combines mystery, fantasy, and adventure with colorful illustrations that will entice young readers.  For Kdg. – Gr. 3.

The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale, written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Jill Weber (Holiday House, 2011) is told in a storyteller’s style, with rich vocabulary and rising suspense.  It parallels the biblical story, with beauty pageants, murder plots, political jockeying, feasts, secrets, and the vanquishing of evil-doers all leading to a glorious victory over tyranny.  The delightful illustrations suggest humor and foreshadow the happy ending, brought about by courage and Jewish moral fiber.  For grades 1-3.

 

New for Passover

Are children coming to your Seder?  Delight them with these new books:

Try a little Afikoman Mambo by Rabbi Joe Black, illustrated by Linda Prater (Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2011). A catchy rhyming text in this upbeat picture book is complemented by watercolor illustrations of cheerful, multiracial children enjoying their large family’s Seder.  The rollicking story and sing-along CD will liven up Seders for all ages. It would also make a great gift for the afikoman-finders! For preschool – Kdg.

In Hoppy Passover by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Daniel Howarth (Whitman, 2011) charming bunnies Violet and Simon introduce the concepts of the holiday as they prepare to celebrate Passover with their family.  The sweet story and the cozy paintings showing a loving family sharing their holiday traditions are just right for young children who may be learning about Passover for the first time.  For preschool – Kdg.

 

For Cooks of All Ages

Let My People Eat!  Passover Seders Made Simple by Zell Schulman (Wiley, 1998), The New York Times Passover Cookbook (William Morrow Cookbooks, 1999), and Passover by Design: Picture-perfect Kosher by Design Recipes by Susie Fishbein (Mesorah, 2008) are just a few of the many collections of scrumptious recipes for Passover.

Kids will enjoy Matzah Meals: A Passover Cookbook for Kids by Judy Tabs and Barbara Steinberg, illustrated by Bill Hauser (Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2004),  a collection of recipes that range from the no-cooking variety for young children to more complicated ones for teens.   The Kids’ Catalog of Passover: A Worldwide Celebration of Stories, Songs, Customs, Crafts, Food, and Fun by Barbara Rush and Cherie Karo Schwartz (Jewish Publication Society, 2000) is filled with fun activities to help make Passover a joyous occasion for all ages.

Visit local synagogue and community libraries to sample the vast variety of books about Passover for adults and for children.

3/4/11

 

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For The Trees

Tu b’Shevat is just around the corner.   Linda Silver has compiled a new list of books to help you celebrate.

TU b’SHEVAT

THE NEW YEAR OF THE TREES

15 Shevat 5771, Jan. 20, 2011

BEHOLD THE TREES by Sue Alexander.  Arthur A. Levine, 2001.  Ages 8-12.

Israel’s history is traced through its trees from ancient times to the present.  Stunning illustrations, some with images embedded in them, show destruction and re-birth.

DEAR TREE: A TU B’SHEVAT WISH by Doba Rivka Weber.  Hachai, 2010.  Ages 2-5.

A tree growing outside the synagogue is wished sunshine, birds, blossoms, green leaves, strong protective bark, deep roots, and all of Hashem’s other gifts by a little boy who promises to take care of it.

HONI’S CIRCLE OF TREES by Phillis Gershator.  JPS, 1995.  Gr. 3-7.

Honi is a character from the Talmud who plants carob trees, falls, asleep, and wakes many years later to discover that all the people he know are gone but trees he planted are bearing fruit.

IT’S TU B’SHEVAT by Edie Stoltz Zolkower.  Kar-Ben/Lerner, 2005.  Ages 2-4.

This simple board book follows a little boy as he grabs a shovel, digs a hole and plants a tree on Tu B’Shevat. As we watch, the boy and the tree grow older; he and his family picnic under its shade and enjoy the fruit it bears.  Illustrated in lush pastels and written in verse, the narrative flows easily.

THE KIDS’ CATALOG OF ANIMALS AND THE EARTH by Chaya Burstein.  JPS, 2006.  Ages. 8-12.

In her usually sprightly style, the author brings together facts, history, lore, legend, short stories, experiments, crafts and activities, a short encyclopedia and index to focus on Israel and Judaism.

LISTEN TO THE TREES: JEWS AND THE EARTH by Molly Cone.  UAHC Press, 1995.  Ages 8-11.

Torah says to care for the trees, the birds, beasts, and fish, and the earth – for all things are connected.  Children sampling this eclectic mixture of stories, cartoons, anecdotes, and quotations will discover the connection that exists between Jewish tradition and ecological values.

THE NEVER-ENDING GREENNESS by Neil Waldman.  Morrow, 1997.  Ages 7-10.

The narrator begins his story as a boy and ends it as an old man, telling of coming to Palestine with his parents as refugees from the Holocaust, his hopes of filling the land with trees, and the eventual fruition of the Zionist dream of making the dry places bloom.

NOAH’S TREES by Bijou LeTord.  HarperCollins, 1999.  Ages 4-7.

Noah is a steward of the earth who plants and tends trees until they grow into a huge forest. He intends to give the trees to his sons but God has other plans and obedient Noah must use his trees to make an ark. After the ark is finished and the animals have boarded, Noah carries in little green saplings from the trees he loved the most.

PEARL MOSKOWITZ’S LAST STAND by Arthur Levine.  Tambourine, 1993.  Ages 7-10.

Saving the last tree on their urban street becomes the mission of a diverse group of older ladies.  A young city bureaucrat has no chance when they overwhelm him with food, family photos, card games, and stories.

PEARL PLANTS A TREE by Jane Breskin Zalben.  Simon and Schuster, 1995.  Ages 4-7.

Pearl, a little sheep, and her grandfather plant an apple seed, nurturing it as it sprouts.  Delicate watercolor paintings of petals, leaves, and blossoms decorate the story, which is followed by a note about Tu b’Shevat and other tree planting ceremonies.

REMARKABLE PARK by Patti Argoff.  Feldheim, 2010.  Ages 3-6.

Walking through the park, a boy and girl notice all of the ways that nature sings God’s praises and realize that through nature, we can all draw closer to God.

SAMMY SPIDER’S FIRST TU B’SHEVAT by Sylvia Rouss.  Kar-Ben Copies, 2000.  Ages 3-6.

Similar to Yaffa Ganz’s A TREE FULL OF MITZVAHS, this addition to the Sammy Spider series shows a tree and the animals that benefit from it through all four seasons of the year.

SOLOMON AND THE TREES by Matt Biers-Ariel.  UAHC Press, 2001.  Gr.1-3

Drawing on legends about King Solomon and Jewish teachings about humankind’s responsibility to care for nature, this dramatically illustrated story stresses personal responsibility.

 

More information about all of these books and more about Tu b’Shevat can be found in the Jewish Valuesfinder, www.ajljewishvalues.org.

Click TU BISHAVAT BOOK LIST to download a copy of this list.

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New Hanukkah Books

Linda Silver, AJL GCC member and editor of the Jewish Values Finder, has created a list of new Hanukkah books.  The list is perfect for collection development or for shopping for gifts.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Illus. by Amy Cartwright.  Price Stern Sloan.  Preschool.  The familiar words of the children’s Hanukkah song flow along the pages of this charmingly illustrated board book.  There’s a nice surprise waiting at the end: a pop-up scene with a spinning menorah.

Eight Winter Nights by Laura Kraus Melmed.  Illus. by Elizabeth Schlossberg.  Chronicle.  Preschool-Kdg.   Short verses tell the story of a family’s enjoyment of Hanukkah, from lighting the menorah to singing, dancing, eating, and giving tzedakah.  The pencil and pastel illustrations in shades of rust and magenta bathe the story in a warm, cozy light.   End notes give background on the holiday and its traditions.

Hanukkah. Preschool.  On the right side of each double page spread of this novelty book is an animated window of a menorah with flickering candles, gelt dropping into a bowl, a spinning dreidel, latkes being flipped, and a scroll saying “Happy Hanukkah.”  Facing each animated window is one sentence about the image in the window while on the last double page spread are some brief facts about Hanukkah.  The heavy pages, bright colors, simple text, and animated images are all appealing as a very simple introduction to some Hanukkah symbols.

The Hanukkah Trike by Michelle Edwards.  Illus. by Kathryn Mitter.  Albert Whitman.  Kdg. – Gr. 2.  A little girl named Gabi is thrilled to receive a new tricycle at the end of the first night of Hanukkah.  She names it “Hanukkah” but is daunted when she  tries to ride it and falls off.  The story of the Maccabees inspires her to persevere and her success is captured in bright paintings as well as in a rather bland text.

Happy Hanukkah Lights by Jacqueline Jules.  Illus. by Michelle Shapiro.  Kar-Ben/Lerner.  Preschool.  Rhymes, counting, and Jewish traditions are combined in this board book that shows a family’s joyful Hanukkah celebrations on all eight nights.  The illustrations are cheerful and child-like.

Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson.  Illus. by E. B. Lewis.  Viking.  Gr. 1-4.   When young Steve Satlow helps his neighbors, the family of the baseball great, Jackie Robinson, trim their Christmas tree, he tells them that his family has no tree of their own.  Not realizing that the Satlows are Jewish, Jackie delivers them one.    After a few awkward moments, the Satlows decide that for this year only, they’ll have both a menorah and a Christmas tree.  Jackie Robinson’s daughter wrote this handsomely illustrated story based on real events and it abounds with friendship and understanding.

The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah by Bill Berlin and Susan Isakoff Berlin.  Illus. by Peter J. Welling.  Pelican.  Preschool-Kdg.  There is no joy in Oyville when the local kvetch steals all of the menorahs.   But fear not: the town’s  brave children confront the old man, regale him with the story of the Macabbees and the true meaning of Hanukkah, and accomplish a miracle by opening the kvetch’s heart and mind to the joy of the holiday.  Unpolished but energetic illustrations abound in a zany story that is meant to remind children of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch.

Maccabee!  The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley.   Illus. by David Harrington.  Kar-Ben/Lerner.   Kdg. – Gr. 3.  The story of how Judah and the Maccabees fought the tyrant  Antiochus for the religious freedom of the Jews and the restoration of the Temple is retold in this animated rhyme punctuated by a repeated refrain: “Sometimes it only takes a few, / Who know what’s right, and do it, too.”  The rhythmic narrative is enhanced by bold paintings and would lend itself to readers’ theatre.

ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES

www.ajljewishvalues.org

Click HANUKKAH BOOKS FROM VALUESFINDER to download a copy of this list that you can print and distribute at your library.

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The Best of The Best

The Association of Jewish Libraries Greater Cleveland Chapter is proud to present our annual book list in celebration of Jewish Book Month.  Each year, our chapter creates a list of the best books published for adults and children to share with patrons and to assist other librarians with collection development.   Please feel free to distribute the list to anyone interested in Jewish literature.   What are some of your favorite Jewish books published this year?

JEWISH BOOK MONTH 2010 ADULT LIST

JEWISH BOOK MONTH 2010 CHILDREN’S LIST

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Book Lists: It’s What We Do!

The AJL GCC chapter has had a long tradition of creating book lists for our own membership, the greater Jewish community, and for librarians around the country.  As summer winds down we are proud to share with you a book list of great Jewish reads for the summer (or any other time) by Linda Silver.  There are selections for children and adults.  Be sure to check out a few as you enjoy the last few weeks of summer.  Is your favorite title missing?  Don’t be shy, let us know.  We can’t wait to hear what’s on your summer reading list.

SummerBooks

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Recent Holocaust Books for Children

Learning about the Holocaust is a searing experience for most children – and it should be. Children’s literature – fiction, non-fiction, and biography – does a better job in introducing the Holocaust than most textbooks, which tend to neutralize the horrific facts. A few of the titles on this list provide essential background about anti-Semitism and the conditions that gave rise to Nazism; others describe human experiences in ways that develop empathy and compassion; most raise questions that children will want to discuss with their parents or other trusted adults.

RECENT BOOKS about the HOLOCAUST from the JEWISH VALUESFINDER
Yom Hashoah Ve-Hagevurah
Nisan 27, 5770 April 11, 2010

NON-FICTION

Product DetailsBogacki, Tomek. THE CHAMPION OF CHILDREN: THE STORY OF JANUSZ KORCZAK. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009. 33 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-34136-7. Elementary. Expressive acrylic illustrations by the author immediately set the tone of this Holocaust biography. Their tone fluctuates to match the mood of the text, which portrays Korczak’s life from youth to death, last showing him marching with the orphans he taught to the train that would take them all to their deaths.

Product DetailsDe Saix, Deborah Durland; Ruelle, Karen Gray. THE GRAND MOSQUE OF PARIS: A STORY OF HOW MUSLIMS RESCUED JEWS DURING THE HOLOCAUST. Holiday House, 2009. 40 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8234-2159. Primary, Elementary. This handsomely illustrated book, with paintings in shades of blue, gray, maize and gold, gives an account of how Jewish families, escaping Allied airmen, and various others (some in the Resistance) found respite and shelter in a North African Kabyle mosque in the heart of Paris.

Kacer, Kathy; McKay, Sharon E. WHISPERS FROM THE CAMPS. Penguin Canada, 2009. 151 pages. ISBN: 978-0-14-331252-9 . Middle-School, High-School. As in Whispers from the Ghettos, Kacer and McKay have documented individual true stories from the lives of teenage survivors of the Holocaust. In some cases, the lives of the teens are saved because of their special skills, e.g. knowledge of the German language or the ability to read aircraft blueprints. Many of the stories deal with the arrival at Auschwitz – selection, stripping, hair shearing, cold showers, thin clothing, repeated lineups for counting, etc. – but each is remarkable for being personal and detailed. Also included is a 5-minute play, “The Liberation of Dachau” and a glossary.

Product DetailsKacer, Kathy; McKay, Sharon E. WHISPERS FROM THE GHETTOS. Penguin Canada, 2009. 162 pages. ISBN: 978-0-14-331251-2. Middle-School, High-School. Original testimonies from survivors of the ghettos record the hardship, terror, and bravery that they experienced as young people during the Holocaust. Twelve accounts of ghetto life are included, showing the role adolescents played in securing food and necessities for their families. Very moving!

Product DetailsKoestler-Grack, Rachel. ELIE WIESEL: WITNESS FOR HUMANITY. Gareth Stevens, 2009. 112 pages. ISBN: 978-14339-0054-9. Middle-School. This biography covers the period from Wiesel’s childhood, through his horrific experiences in concentration camps, to his life and career after the Holocaust. Following the narrative there is a conversation with the director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum about the meaning and message for youngsters of Wiesel’s life, plus reference aides.

Product DetailsMetselaar, Menno; van der Rol, Ruud. ANNE FRANK: HER LIFE IN WORDS AND PICTURES. Roaring Brook Press, 2009. 215 pages. ISBN: 978-1-59643-546-9. Elementary, Middle-School, High-School. First published in the Netherlands by the Anne Frank House, this draws on materials from the archives to give a history of the Frank family and their protectors, plus an account of the preserved Annex where the Frank family and others hid. The text is drawn from several sources including some adult books and Anne’s diary. The testimony of Rosa de Winter, who was with the three Frank women in Westerbork and Bergen-Belsen, is also given. Many photographs of the Frank family accompany the text of a handsome keepsake.

FICTION

Product DetailsClark, Kathy . GUARDIAN ANGEL HOUSE. Second Story Press, 2009. 225 pages. ISBN: 978-1-897187-58-6 . Elementary, Middle-School. Guardian Angel House is the nickname given to a convent run by the Sisters of Charity in Budapest that sheltered over 120 Jewish children during World War Two. Told from the point of view of twelve-year-old Susan, this is a story of survival, of growing up without family during childhood and adolescence, of Jewish children living in a protective and loving Catholic environment which is foreign to them, of mutual respect between people of different religions, of a young woman forced to learn courage at an early age. Based on the true story of the author’s mother and aunt, it is historical fiction at its best.

Product DetailsEngle, Margarita. TROPICAL SECRETS: HOLOCAUST REFUGEES IN CUBA. Henry Holt, 2009. 208 pages. ISBN: 978-0805089363. Middle-School. A coming-of-age story and an unusual piece of Holocaust history, told in free verse. 13-year old Daniel, a German refugee meets and then befriends a 12 year old Cuban girl after his ship is allowed to dock in Havana. Their story is effectively told in alternating narratives. Winner of the 2010 Sydney Taylor Book Award for Teens.

Product DetailsGleitzman, Morris. ONCE. Henry Holt, 2010. 176 pages. ISBN: 978-0-8050-9026-0. Elementary, Middle-School. The narrator is an imaginative and innocent Jewish child being sheltered in a convent. The son of Jewish booksellers, he believes that all of his parents’ troubles are because the Nazis don’t like Jewish books and want to rid the world of them. When he runs away from the convent in order to find his parents, he finds instead only devastation. Reality slowly dawns as the true horrors of the Holocaust are revealed.

Product DetailsHeuvel, Eric. THE SEARCH. Anne Frank House, 2009. 62 pages. ISBN: 978-0-374-464554. Elementary, Middle-School. Originally published in Dutch in 2007, A Family Secret and its sequel, The Search, tell overlapping stories of ordinary people during World War II. A Family Secret tells the story of Jeroen, a teenage boy, who is looking through his grandmother’s attic for items to sell at a yard sale. After he comes across scrapbooks and other artifacts, his grandmother Helena tells him for the first time about her experiences as a young girl in Amsterdam during the German occupation. Her best friend was Esther, a Jewish girl whose family fled from Germany to the Netherlands hoping for safety from the Nazis. When Esther’s family is sent to a concentration camp, Helena fears the worst, and assumes that Esther has died along with her parents. Years later, a chance meeting between Jeroen and Esther during a Memorial Day ceremony allows the boy to present his grandmother with her long-lost friend. Dutch artist Eric Heuvel uses pastel colors and a clear line style that has been compared to Tintin comics. The text is simplified for a younger audience. War is not glamorized in any way; neither the Nazis nor the victims are personalized. Because of the lack of violence, these two books would provide a good introduction to the topic for children as young as fifth grade.

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Got Books?

Spring is in the air, Passover is almost here, and it’s time to start
thinking about our annual meeting discussion of new and notable Jewish
books of 2009.  We do two lists: one for adults and one for children and
teens.  If you’ve read something lately that is new, notable, and of
interest to Jewish readers, please send the author and title to Linda
Silver, silverlr@roadrunner.com.  If you can add a one or two line note
describing the book, that’s even better!

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