May is Jewish Heritage Month! Here’s a list of recent and upcoming books that highlight Jewish creators and their stories.
Awe-some Days: Poems about the Jewish Holidays
Written by Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593324691 | Dial Books
In this cheerful, enjoyable poetry collection, a family decides to celebrate every Jewish holiday for a full year, “the ones we know well, the ones we do not.” Starting with new-year apples dipped in honey on Rosh Hashanah all the way to flowers and chocolates on Tu B’Av (often called “Jewish Valentine’s Day”), readers can explore the joy and meaning of the various holidays along with this lively family of five. A brief explanation of the holiday accompanies each poem.
My Self, Your Self
By Esmé Shapiro
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880234 | Tundra Books
From the way you button your coat to the way you tap your toes, from the top of your head to your adorable tummy, there are so many reasons to love your self, and so many reasons to be loved. Join a group of endearing forest creatures as they bake and eat cranberry-butter-pie muffins, sing silly songs at bath time and stop to smell the chestnut-nettle roses, all the while exploring their individuality. This joyously affirming picture book from the inimitable Esmé Shapiro encourages the youngest readers to get to know and love and be kind to their wonderful selves and the equally wonderful selves around them.
Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink
By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264496 | Tundra Books
What does “skinnamarink” mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly – especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together. Based on the classic folk song made famous by a beloved trio of children’s entertainers, this picture book is best sung aloud! “Skinnamarink” is a timeless anthem of love and inclusion.
Tia Fortuna’s New Home: A Jewish Cuban Journey
By Ruth Behar
Illustrated by Devon Holzwarth
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593172414 | Knopf BFYR
When Estrella’s Tía Fortuna has to say goodbye to her longtime Miami apartment building, The Seaway, to move to an assisted living community, Estrella spends the day with her. Tía explains the significance of her most important possessions from both her Cuban and Jewish culture, as they learn to say goodbye together and explore a new beginning for Tía. A lyrical book about tradition, culture, and togetherness, Tía Fortuna’s New Home explores Tía and Estrella’s Sephardic Jewish and Cuban heritage. Through Tía’s journey, Estrella will learn that as long as you have your family, home is truly where the heart is.
By Eric Walters and Kathy Kacer
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735266261 | Puffin Canada
It’s 2002. In the aftermath of the twin towers – and the death of her beloved grandmother – Shirli Berman is intent on moving forward. The best singer in her junior high, she auditions for the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof, but is crushed to learn that she’s been given the part of the old Jewish mother in the musical rather than the coveted part of the sister. But there is an upside: her “husband” is none other than Ben Morgan, the cutest and most popular boy in the school. Deciding to throw herself into the role, she rummages in her grandfather’s attic for some props. There, she discovers an old violin in the corner – strange, since her Zayde has never seemed to like music, never even going to any of her recitals. Showing it to her grandfather unleashes an anger in him she has never seen before, and while she is frightened of what it might mean, Shirli keeps trying to connect with her Zayde and discover the awful reason behind his anger. A long-kept family secret spills out, and Shirli learns the true power of music, both terrible and wonderful.
Come See the Fair
By Gavriel Savit
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593378663 | Knopf BFYR
Twelve-year-old orphan Eva Root travels the country pretending to channel spirits at séances. Her audiences swear their loved ones have spoken to them from beyond the grave. This, of course, is impossible. But one day, Eva experiences another impossibility: she hears a voice in her head telling her to come to the World’s Fair in Chicago. There, she meets a mysterious magician who needs her help to bring magic to life. But as their work progresses, Eva begins to suspect that the project’s goals may not be as noble as they seem. And when tragedy strikes, Eva will have to reach beyond death itself to unravel the mystery of the magician’s plan—before it’s too late.
How to Change Everything
The Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other
By Naomi Klein and Rebecca Stefoff
336 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780735270084 | Puffin Canada
Temperatures are rising all over the world, leading to wildfires, droughts, animal extinctions, and ferocious storms – climate change is real. But how did we get to this state, and what can we do next? What if we could work to protect the planet, while also taking action to make life fairer and more equal for the people who live on it? We can – if we’re willing to change everything. In her first book written for young readers, internationally acclaimed, bestselling author and social activist Naomi Klein, with Rebecca Steffof, lays out the facts and challenges of climate change and the movement for climate justice. Using examples of change and protest from around the world, including profiles of young activists from a wide range of backgrounds, Klein shows that young people are not just part of the climate change movement, they are leading the way. How to Change Everything will provide readers with clear information about how our planet is changing, but also, more importantly, with inspiration, ideas, and tools for action. Because young people can help build a better future. Young people can help decide what happens next. Young people can help change everything.
Eight Nights of Flirting
By Hannah Reynolds
400 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593349755 | Razorbill
Shira Barbanel has a plan: this Hanukkah, she’s going to get a boyfriend. And she has the perfect candidate in mind – her great-uncle’s assistant, Isaac. He’s reliable, brilliant, and of course, super hot. The only problem? Shira’s an absolute disaster when it comes to flirting. Enter Tyler Nelson, Shira’s nemesis-slash-former-crush. As much as she hates to admit it, Tyler is the most charming and popular guy she knows. Which means he’s the perfect person to teach her how to win Isaac over. When Shira and Tyler get snowed in together at Golden Doors, they strike a deal – flirting lessons for Shira in exchange for career connections for Tyler. But as Shira starts to see the sweet, funny boy beneath Tyler’s playboy exterior, she realizes she actually likes hanging out with him. And that wasn’t part of the plan. Amidst a whirl of snowy adventures, hot chocolate, and candlelight, Shira must learn to trust her heart to discover if the romance she planned is really the one that will make her happiest.
It’s a Whole Spiel: Love, Latkes, and Other Jewish Stories
Edited by Katherine Locke and Laura Silverman
Foreword by Mayim Bialik
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Ebook
ISBN 9780525646181 | Knopf BFYR
A Jewish boy falls in love with a fellow counselor at summer camp. A group of Jewish friends take the trip of a lifetime. A girl meets her new boyfriend’s family over Shabbat dinner. Two best friends put their friendship to the test over the course of a Friday night. A Jewish girl feels pressure to date the only Jewish boy in her grade. Hilarious pranks and disaster ensue at a crush’s Hanukkah party. From stories of confronting their relationships with Judaism to rom-coms with a side of bagels and lox, It’s a Whole Spiel features one story after another that says yes, we are Jewish, but we are also queer, and disabled, and creative, and political, and adventurous, and anything we want to be. You will fall in love with this insightful, funny, and romantic Jewish anthology from a collection of diverse Jewish authors.
The Ghosts of Rose Hill
By R. M. Romero
384 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781682635520 | Peachtree Teen
Sent to stay with her aunt in Prague and witness the humble life of an artist, Ilana Lopez – a biracial Jewish girl – finds herself torn between her dream of becoming a violinist and her immigrant parents’ desire for her to pursue a more stable career. When she discovers a forgotten Jewish cemetery behind her aunt’s cottage, she meets the ghost of a kindhearted boy named Benjamin, who died over a century ago. As Ilana restores Benjamin’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague, where ghosts walk the streets and their kisses have warmth. But Benjamin isn’t the only one interested in Ilana. Rudolph Wassermann, a man with no shadow, has become fascinated with her and the music she plays. He offers to share his magic, so Ilana can be with Benjamin and pursue her passion for violin. But after Ilana discovers the truth about Wassermann and how Benjamin became bound to the city, she resolves to save the boy she loves, even if it means losing him – forever.
This Rebel Heart
By Katherine Locke
448 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593381243 | Knopf BFYR
In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most – safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things about her father’s legacy that she wishes she could forget. Now Csilla keeps her head down, planning her escape from this country that has never loved her the way she loves it. But her carefully laid plans fall to pieces when her parents are unexpectedly, publicly exonerated. As the protests in other countries spur talk of a larger revolution in Hungary, Csilla must decide if she believes in the promise and magic of her deeply flawed country enough to risk her life to help save it, or if she should let it burn to the ground. With queer representation, fabulist elements, and a pivotal but little-known historical moment, This Rebel Heart is Katherine Locke’s tour de force.
Family of Liars
By E. Lockhart
336 Pages | Ages 12+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780593485880 | Ember
The thrilling prequel to the TikTok phenomenon and New York Times bestseller We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.
A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts.
A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow.
A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy.
A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.
Welcome back to the Sinclair family.
They were always liars . . . .
By Charlotte Offsay
Illustrated by Jason Kirschner
40 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823454112 | Holiday House
From kneading sticky dough to gathering with family around the table, Challah Day celebrates family, food, heritage, and tradition! Join this happy family as they bake delicious braided egg bread for their Friday night Shabbat dinner.
Yeast and sugar – water’s warm,
mix and watch those bubbles form!
Crack the eggs – one… two… three… four
Extra if some hit the floor.
Messy flour and laughter abound. The scent of warm bread fills the house. Grandma and Grandpa bring the candles and hugs. Parents, kids, and baby too, can read this kid-friendly, rhyming recipe together. Inspired by memories author Charlotte Offsay and illustrator Jason Kirschner have of baking Challah with their children, Challah Day celebrates the sweetness of sharing homemade food as a family. In the back of the book, read about the cultural importance of Challah and Jewish traditions. This read aloud can be a joyful introduction to a new culture or a cozy way to celebrate a familiar one. Perfect for any occasion as a holiday gift or the start of a new weekly tradition.
Latke’s First Hanukkah
By Alan Silberberg
16 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780593623169 | Viking BFYR
Now even the youngest readers can celebrate Hanukkah by joining Latke and his zany friends for an eight-night-long party! Alan Silberberg brings his signature humor to the board book audience with a silly, accessible introduction to Hanukkah. Latke is having a party to celebrate the miracle of the oil, and before the holiday is over, all his friends will join him. On the first night of Hanukkah, the latke lights the menorah. On the second night of Hanukkah, the gelt gets sweet and giddy… The party grows and grows until the eighth night of Hanukkah, when Latke’s home is full and all eight candles on the menorah are lit (plus the shamas!).
Don’t Want to Be Your Monster
By Deke Moulton
304 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880494 | Tundra Books
Adam and Victor are brothers who have the usual fights over the remote, which movie to watch and whether or not it’s morally acceptable to eat people. Well, not so much eat . . . just drink a little blood. They’re vampires, hiding in plain sight with their eclectic yet loving family. Ten-year-old Adam knows he has a better purpose in his life (well, immortal life) than just drinking blood, but fourteen-year-old Victor wants to accept his own self-image of vampirism. Everything changes when bodies start to appear all over town, and it becomes clear that a vampire hunter may be on the lookout for the family. Can Adam and Victor reconcile their differences and work together to stop the killer before it’s too late?
Hans Christian Andersen Lives Next Door
By Cary Fagan
160 Pages | Ages 9-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781774880159 | Tundra Books
Andie Gladman is your typical kid — she lives in a small town, doesn’t have many friends and quietly puts up with taunts from the school bully, Myrtle Klinghoffer. But one day, a new neighbor moves into the house next to Andie’s family . . . and he looks awfully familiar. Could he be famous author Hans Christian Andersen? Andie sure thinks so, and the arrival of this well-known writer inspires Andie to write her own poems (with a feminist twist) based on his classic fairy tales. Her newfound hobby leads her to make a friend and finally feel some excitement about her previously quiet life . . . but will a shocking revelation change everything for Andie?
The Year My Life Went Down the Toilet
By Jake Maia Arlow
288 Pages | Ages 10-14 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593112960 | Dial Books
Twelve-year-old Al Schneider is too scared to talk about the two biggest things in her life:
1. Her stomach hurts all the time and she has no idea why.
2. She’s almost definitely 100% sure she likes girls.
So she holds it in…until she can’t. After nearly having an accident of the lavatorial variety in gym class, Al finds herself getting a colonoscopy and an answer—she has Crohn’s disease. But rather than solving all her problems, Al’s diagnosis just makes everything worse. It’s scary and embarrassing. And worst of all, everyone wants her to talk about it—her overprotective mom, her best friend, and most annoyingly her gastroenterologist, who keeps trying to get her to go to a support group for kids with similar chronic illnesses. But, who wants to talk about what you do in the bathroom?
Friends Like These
By Meg Rosoff
208 Pages | Ages 14+ | Paperback
ISBN 9781774881101 | Tundra Book Group
Release Date: May 30, 2023
New York City. Summer 1983. A summer internship in New York was meant to be everything Beth wanted. But from the moment she arrives in the city she feels wrong: wrong hair, terrible clothes, defective smile, too obviously a virgin. Sharing a hot, cockroach-filled apartment with a couple falling out of love completes the dream picture. Then she meets her fellow interns: ambitious out-of-towner Dan, preppy rich boy Oliver, and Edie – a beautiful, brittle, magnetic, instant best friend. Irresistible people are like gravity. You can’t help being pulled towards them – can you?