Books for the Littlest Jewish Readers
Shabbat Is Coming!(12 pp. $5.95) by Tracy Newman, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli, is new to the library of Very First Board Books, sturdy enough to resist the efforts of teething toddlers and colorful enough to delight them. Ages 1-4.
A family crisis delays Katy’s annual apple picking in Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story(32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95) by Allison Sarnoff Soffer, illustrated by Bob McMahon, but her friends as well as her rabbi and teacher give her enough apples for the sauce that sweetens her New Year’s dinner. Ages 2-7.
Sylvia A. Rouss’s mischievous arachnid returns to help his friend Josh recover from a cold by weaving a beautiful web for him. In Sammy Spider’s First Mitzvah
(illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn; 24 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95), Sammy happily fulfills the mitzva of visiting and comforting the sick. Ages 2-8.
In Netta and Her Plant(32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95) by Ellie B. Gellman, illustrated by Natascia Ugliano, Netta plants a seedling on Tu B’Shvat. Over the years she and her precious plant grow together, happy celebrants of the “birthday of the trees.” Ages 3-8.
Maya is a faithful observer of the stork who migrates from Africa to Europe each year, often stopping to rest on her kibbutz. In Tami Lehman-Wilzig’s Stork’s Landing (32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95), illustrated by Anna Shuttlewood, Maya spies a bird with a broken wing, rescues it and nurses the bird she names Yaffa back to health. When baby birds are hatched, using kibbutz ingenuity and compassion, a bucket loader carries Yaffa to the nest so she can mother the chirping chicks. Ages 3-8.
When Naomi’s beloved 95-year-old great-grandmother speaks of her regret at never having had a bat mitzva, Naomi and her cousins band together to help her prepare her Torah portion and organize a celebration. Bubbe’s Belated Bat Mitzvah (illustrated by Valerie Cis; 32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95) was inspired by author Isabel Pinson’s own mother, who had her bat mitzva at age 95. Ages 3-9.
Barbara Krasner relates in Goldie Takes a Stand!: Golda Meir’s First Crusade (32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95) how Goldie Mabowetz, a 9-year-old Russian-born girl in Milwaukee, proclaimed herself president of the American Young Sisters Society and organized a fundraiser to purchase textbooks for her immigrant classmates, a fitting beginning for her future as Golda Meir, prime minister of the State of Israel. Kelsey Garrity-Riley’s period drawings suit the tongue-in-cheek but charming text. Ages 5-9.
In The Patchwork Torah (32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95) by Allison Ofanansky and illustrated by Elsa Oriol, a Torah scribe writes new scrolls and repairs damaged ones. With great care, he pieces together fragments of a Torah damaged in the Holocaust and another almost ruined by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Finally, he is able to carry them on Simhat Torah. Ages 4-8.
Heidi Smith Hyde’s Elan, Son of Two Peoples (32 pp. hardcover $17.95, paperback $7.95) shows how Elan, the son of a Jewish father and a Pueblo Indian mother who is a Jew by choice, celebrates his bar mitzva in a San Francisco synagogue and reads from the Torah again on a mesa in New Mexico. He is also initiated into the Acoma nation, affirming his membership in “two proud nations.” Illustrations are by Mikela Prevost. Ages 5-9.