24 Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

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Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

 

I’ve been wanting to compile a list of diverse Jewish books for children and teenagers for a while, so here it finally is! Set in a variety of different countries and presenting a wide range of characters from different races and cultures, there is something for everyone on this gorgeous list. Enjoy browsing!


24 Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers


Babies & Toddlers


Flip Flop Hanukkah
by Danny Paller

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Flip the latkes, spin the dreidel, dance in a circle, flop on the couch! Filled with cheerful rhyme and interactive activities, Flip Flop Hanukkah cheerful is a wonderful first introduction to the Festival of Lights. ~ Diverse – Babies & Toddlers

Related: Top 10 Multicultural Bedtime Stories for Babies & Toddlers


Buen Shabat, Shabbat Shalom
by Sarah Aroeste

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

“It’s Friday night, bueno, great! Let’s get ready to celebrate! With a Ladino/Judaeo-Spanish word introduced on each page, Buen Shabat, Shabbat Shalom is a joyful board book that follows a young Sephardic Jewish family as they prepare to celebrate Shabbat. ~ Diverse – Babies & Toddlers






Preschool


Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas
by Pamela Ehrenberg

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas is a humorous picture book about a multi-cultural family (Mom’s Indian; Dad’s Jewish) celebrating Hanukkah. Instead of latkes, they prepare tasty Indian dosas. To her brother’s chagrin, little Sadie won’t stop climbing on everything both at the Indian grocery store and at home while preparing the dosas. But when they accidentally get locked out of the house, Sadie and her climbing skills just may be exactly what is needed to save the day. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families


Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup
by Pamela Mayer

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Sophie loves Bubbe’s Jewish chicken soup, made with kreplach. She also loves Nai Nai’s Chinese chicken soup, with wonton. But don’t tell Bubbe and Nai Nai that their soups are the same! Can Sophie bring her whole family together for a warm and tasty surprise? Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup is a sweet book about a little girl’s unique approach to combining her family’s traditions. Includes three chicken soup recipes. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents


Fridays Are Special
by Chris Barash

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Fridays are not like other days. Fridays are special! There’s challah to bake, dinner to cook, family to greet, and lots of cozy fun to be had, all in preparation for Shabbat. With engaging illustrations, Fridays Are Special follows a multiracial family (Black father) on a very special day of the week. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families


A Persian Passover
by Etan Basseri

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Ezra and Roza are helping to prepare for their Passover celebration. Ezra is proud to be in charge of bringing his family’s flour to the synagogue to be baked into matzah in a traditional wood-burning oven. But when Ezra makes a mistake and the matzah is ruined, what will he and his sister do? Join the siblings in A Persian Passover as they experience the sights, smells, sounds, and unique traditions of a seder in Iran of the 1950s. ~ Diverse – Preschool

Related: 20 Children’s Books set in the Middle East & Northern Africa






Elementary School


Jalapeno Bagels
by Natasha Wing

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers: Jalapeno Bagels

Beautifully illustrated, Jalapeño Bagels tells the story of Pablo who cannot decide what food to take for his school’s International Day. The chano bars his Mexican mother makes or the bagels his white Jewish father bakes? He eventually comes up with a food that perfectly represents his mixed heritage. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 70+ Picture Books about Mixed Race Families


Hanukkah Moon
by Deborah Da Costa

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

When Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa’s for Hanukkah, she’s not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. “At Aunt Luisa’s you’ll get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon,” Isobel’s father promises. Hanukkah Moon follows Isobel as her days at Aunt Luisa’s are filled with fun and surprises – a new camera, a dreidel piñata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 24 Children’s Books set in Mexico


Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail
by Leslea Newman

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Inside, a boy and his family sit around the dinner table to embrace the many traditions of their Passover Seder around the dinner table. Outside, a cat wanders, hungry and alone. When it’s time for the symbolic Passover custom of opening the family’s front door for the prophet Elijah, both the boy and the cat are in for a remarkable surprise. Award-winning Welcoming Elijah is a warm, lyrical story about Passover, family, and friendship. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 18 Multicultural Children’s Books about Friendship


Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs
by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Jacobo loves to visit his his grandmother especially at Easter time. But Abuelita has a big secret. During Semana Santa, Holy Week, she never makes bread (only tortillas made without yeast), never eats pork, and she lights two candles on Friday nights. Whenever Jacobo asks her questions, she answers, “Ah, mijito, my child, it is the way of our family.” One day, Abuelita is finally ready to share her secret. “Sit with me on the porch. It is time to tell you the secret of our family . . .” Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs tells the fascinating and little-known story of the Crypto Jews in an engaging way. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 40+ Multicultural Children’s Books about Grandparents


Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants
by Leah Berkowitz

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Queen Vashti ‘played gin rummy all night long / and sang her favorite silly song. / And all Queen Vashti’s friends were there, / in comfy pants and braided hair.’ When the King demands that she ‘must at once come down, / in her finest dress and royal crown’, Vashti refuses to do so. Given the choice to ‘dance or SCRAM!’, Vashti and her diverse group of friends leave to ‘conquer the world in their comfy pants!’ With expressive illustrations and rhyming text, Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants is a light-hearted feminist spin on the Purim story. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers


Always An Olivia
by Carolivia Herron

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

An elderly Black grandmother passes on the story of the family’s Jewish origins to her young granddaughter, Carol Olivia. As family members flee the Spanish Inquisition, are kidnapped by pirates and eventually sail to America, one daughter in each generation is given the name Olivia, from the Hebrew Shulamit meaning “peace,” to honour the Jewish part of their ancestry. Always An Olivia is an engaging, multicultural tale is based on the author’s own heritage. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 250 Children’s Books Celebrating Black Girls


The Eight Knights of Hanukkah
by Leslie Kimmelman

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

It’s the last night of Hanukkah and everyone is doing their part for the big celebration, but a dragon called Dreadful has other ideas. He roams the countryside, interrupting the party preparations. Lady Sadie must call upon the Eight Knights of Hanukkah to perform deeds of awesome kindness and stupendous bravery and put an end to the dragon’s shenanigans. The Eight Knights of Hanukkah is a humorous story crafted out of a bit of wordplay and a love for a holiday that truly shines. Includes a note on the traditions of Hanukkah and directions for playing the dreidel game. ~ Diverse – Elementary School


Elan, Son of Two Peoples
by Heidi Smith Hyde

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

“Always remember you are the son of two proud nations,” Elan’s parents tell him when he turns 13. After celebrating his Bar Mitzvah in San Francisco, Elan, with his Jewish father and Native American mother, travels to New Mexico, where he takes part in a Pueblo manhood ceremony. Based on a true story, Elan, Son of Two Peoples is  the fascinating story of a young boy putting his two very different cultures together. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 100 Native American Children’s Books


Osnat and Her Dove: The True Story of the World’s First Female Rabbi
by Sigal Samuel

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Osnat was born five hundred years ago – at a time when almost everyone believed in miracles but only very few believed that girls should learn to read. Yet Osnat convinced her father, a great scholar, to teach her. She went on to teach others and become a wise scholar in her own right, the world’s first female rabbi! Some say Osnat performed miracles – like healing a dove who had been shot or saving a congregation from fire. But perhaps her greatest feat was to show that any person can find a path that none have walked before. With vibrant illustrations and imagined conversations, Osnat And Her Dove tells the inspiring story of one of the earliest female Jewish heroes. ~ Diverse – Elementary School

Related: 55 Multicultural Picture Books About Strong Female Role Models






Middle School


Not Your All-American Girl
by W. Wan-Long Shang & M. Rosenberg

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Best friends Lauren and Tara both try out for the upcoming school play. Tara scores the lead role, while Lauren lands in the ensemble because she “just doesn’t look the part of the all-American girl”. What audience would believe that she, half-Jewish, half-Chinese Lauren, was the every girl star from Pleasant Valley, USA? When Lauren just can’t bring herself to sing anymore, her spot in the play and her friendship are in jeopardy. With the help of a button-making business, the music of Patsy Cline, and her two bickering grandmothers, can Lauren find her voice again? Not Your All-American Girl is a middle-grade novel full of heart and hilarity. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Books of 2020


Lucky Broken Girl
by Ruth Behar

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Newly arrived in the U.S. from Cuba in the 1960’s, Ruthie Mizrahi is confined to a full-body cast after a life-changing accident. With the support of her Cuban Ashkenazi-Sephardic family and a diverse group of neighbours, the fifth-grader finds the strength to heal and grow. Based on the author’s childhood, 2018 Pura Belpré award-winner Lucky Broken Girl is an unforgettable middle-grade novel that celebrates courage, resilience and the Latinx experience. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: Pura Belpré Award Winners 1996 – 2022


Too Far From Home
by Naomi Shmuel

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Biracial Jewish girl Meskerem was born in a small town in the Golan Heights of Israel, to an Ethiopian mother and an American father. Soon after Operation Solomon, when several thousand Ethiopian immigrants were brought to Israel, Meskerem’s parents decided to move to the center of the country, to the town of Herzelia. Meskerem comes face-to-face with the ignorance and prejudices of her new classmates. With the help of her Ethiopian grandmother, Meskerem comes to terms with who she is and finds strength in belonging to three different cultures. Too Far From Home is a heartfelt coming-of-age story about immigration, family and multicultural Jewish heritage. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 21 Middle Grade Novels With Multiracial Characters


My Basmati Bat Mitzvah
by Paula J. Freedman

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, Tara Feinstein doesn’t seem have enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O―who might also be her boyfriend―and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. My Basmati Bat Mitzvah is a delightful coming-of-age story and young romance with universal appeal. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: 180+ Asian & Asian American Books For Children & Teenagers


Hanukkah Around the World
by Tami Lehman-Wilzig

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Take a trip to Italy, Uzbekistan, Tunisia, and beyond to see how Hanukkah is celebrated around the world. Join the torch relay in Modi’in, Israel; the Ladino concert in Istanbul, Turkey; and the candle lighting on the beach in Sydney, Australia. Try the delicious and unusual recipes for fried burmelos, latkes, and precipizi that recall the miracle of the little jug of oil in the Hanukkah story. With vibrant illustrations and lots of interesting facts and recipes, Hanukkah Around The World is a wonderful book about the Jewish holiday. ~ Diverse – Middle School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Middle Grade Novels of 2021






High School


Color Me In
by Natasha Diaz

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, 16-year-old Nevaeh Levitz never thought much about her biracial roots. But 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. Because she inadvertently passes as white, her cousin thinks she’s too privileged to relate to the injustices African Americans face on a daily basis. In the meantime, Nevaeh’s dad decides that she should have a belated bat mitzvah instead of a sweet sixteen, which guarantees social humiliation at her posh private school. But rather than take a stand, Nevaeh stays silent as always. Only when she stumbles upon a secret from her mom’s past, finds herself falling in love, and sees firsthand the prejudice her family faces that she begins to realize she has her own voice. Color Me In is a powerful novel about friendship, first love, racism and religious intolerance. ~ Diverse – High School

Related: 100 Children’s Books to help talk about Racism & Discrimination


Wide Awake
by David Levithan

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

In the not-too-impossible-to-imagine future, a gay Jewish man has been elected president of the United States. Until the governor of one state decides that some election results in his state are invalid, awarding crucial votes to the other candidate, and his fellow party member. Thus is the inspiration for couple Jimmy (African American) and Duncan (white Jewish) to lend their support to their candidate by deciding to take part in the rallies and protests. Along the way comes an exploration of their relationship, their politics, and their country. With a diverse cast of characters, Wide Awake is a masterfully woven story that’s both parts political action and reaction, as well as a touching teen love story. ~ Diverse – High School

Related: 75+ Multicultural LGBTQIA Books for Children & Teenagers


Like No Other
by Una LaMarche

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Devorah has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). They’ve spent their entire lives in Brooklyn on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed…until one day they did. When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair become stranded in an elevator together. Though their relationship is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jaxon arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. Like No Other is a modern romance that will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when you least expect it. ~ Diverse – High School


Zack
by William Bell

Diverse Jewish Books for Children & Teenagers

Zack Lane is uncomfortable with his mixed racial origins. He knows about his father’s side, the descendants of Romanian Jews, but his mother broke all ties with her family before Zack was born. Zack has recently been uprooted when his parents moved from the largest city in Canada to the outskirts of a small town. Friendless, unsuccessful at school and at the lowest point in his life, he undertakes a research project into the life of Richard Pierpoint, former African slave, soldier in the War of 1812, and the pioneer farmer who cleared the land on which Zack’s house now stands. Pierpoint’s story inspires Zack to go to Mississippi to look for his maternal grandfather. What he discovers shakes the foundations of all he has believed in. Zack is a heartfelt coming-of-age story about identity and family. ~ Diverse – High School

Related: The 50 Best Multicultural Young Adult Books of 2021


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