In honor of the Tuesday release of my debut picture book Estie the Mensch, this week I'll be showing off some Jewish-themed books by other authors. I'm starting with books that meant a lot to me as a child and then moving on to favorites I've read more recently.
The first book is The Tale of Meshka the Kvetch by Carol Chapman, illustrated by Arnold Lobel, published by Dutton in 1980. This book was a perpetual favorite in my Hebrew School library. Kids really loved those watermelons on Meshka's feet. Here's a link to the book on the website of the PJ Library, a non-profit that provides Jewish-themed books to Jewish families. They include a reading guide. Keep an eye on the PJ Library site -- I'm thrilled that Estie will also be there soon.
Sticking with the humorous Eastern European folk tale genre, as well as the theme of the power of
optimism, here's It Could Always Be Worse, retold and beautifully illustrated by Margot Zemach. I'm linking the title to the PJ library -- this one has a reading guide as well.
And finally, rounding out the hilarious Ashkenazi folk tales, The Children of Chelm by David A. Adler has three retellings of classic stories about the fools of Chelm -- a town over which the bag carrying fools broke when the world was being created. This book, published in 1979 by the Hebrew Publishing Company (for which my mother briefly worked when I was growing up) has traveled with my personal library since my childhood. In fifth grade I won a schoolwide storytelling competition with my dramatic rendition of "The Day It Snowed." Sadly this one is out of print, but you can find it used!