Friday, December 16, 2011

Not so Hanukkah Books for Hanukkah

Hanukkah is almost here!  It's been lovely to see Estie the Mensch turning up on lists of recommended Hanukkah and holiday books:

I think it's a great idea to include Jewish-themed but not Hanukkah-specific books on Hanukkah lists.  Why not give a book a family can enjoy all year?

Here are a few of my favorite (mostly) more-recent Jewish-themed but non-holiday-specific picture books.  Happy reading all year long!

The Princess of Borscht by Leda Schubert

One of the rare Jewish-themed picture books to take place in the here and now rather than during a mythical or historic Jewish past.  This 2011 book celebrates the grandmother/granddaughter relationship, Jewish women, and traditional Jewish cooking.

The Friday Nights of Nana by Amy Hest

Shabbat is the holiday that comes every week, and this picture book, beautifully illustrated by Claire Nivola, is a quiet, atmospheric, satisfying story of a girl who spends Friday with her Nana, preparing for Shabbat dinner with her extended family.  Another contemporary Jewish family in a picture book, yay!

What Zeesie Saw on Delancey Street by Elsa Okon Rael

A rich piece of historical fiction that illuminates the lesser known tradition of Package Parties among American Jewish immigrants on the Lower East Side.  The rich illustrations and strong character development set this one apart.

Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater

A celebration of Yiddish and the meeting of different immigrant groups in America (Brooklyn, to be specific).

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