The High Holidays are fast approaching and we have chosen a few of our favorite children’s books about Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot.
I’m Sorry, Grover: A Rosh Hashanah Tale (Shalom Sesame) by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer
For ages 2-5
Grover’s friend Brosh learns to be a better friend just in time for the Jewish New Year. When Brosh can’t find his blue cap, he accuses his friends of taking it. But when Grover finds and returns the lost item, Brosh realizes the fault of his accusations and is glad that the High Holidays offer him the chance to say, “I’m sorry.” This book helps kids understand the importance of seeing the error of their ways and seeking forgiveness.
Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Allison Sarnoff Soffer
For ages 3-7
Katy tells her classmates about her family’s Rosh Hashanah tradition which includes picking apples at the orchard and using them to make a special homemade apple sauce. She is also anticipating the arrival of a new baby cousin. Unfortunately for Katy, the baby arrives right on apple-picking day. Katy is upset about missing her special trip, but the community steps in and contributes apples for her to make the holiday apple sauce. This is a great book that embraces holiday tradition, family rituals and how to overcome disappointment. There is also a nice recipe for apple sauce.
For ages 5-8
This is one of the few English language books about Rosh Hashanah that is set in Israel. The story begins with the first train ride from Jerusalem to Jaffa in 1897. Engineer Ari is very proud to have been chosen to make this maiden journey and brags excessively about it to his friends. He sets out on the journey to collect shofers, apples and round challahs for the holiday to bring to Jerusalem. Ari begins to feel sorry for how he treated his friends. Since Rosh Hashanah is the time to say you’re sorry, Ari seeks out his friends to apologize. This is a great book for teaching your kids the essence of the holiday.
New Year at the Pier: A Rosh Hashanah Story by April Halprin Wayland
For ages 5-8
Izzy’s favorite part of Rosh Hashanah is apologizing for all of his wrong-doing during the year so that he can start fresh. But Izzy realizes there is one mistake he finds especially difficult to apologize for. This book offers humor and loving moments between family and friends. It is also a winner of the Sydney Taylor Gold Medal for best Jewish picture book of the year.
Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast by Jamie S. Korngold
For ages 2-5
Sadie and her brother Ori decide to eat an early-morning breakfast in their Sukkah. They make many trips through their yard to get breakfast on the table, only to realize they have no guests for their special meal. Since it is too early in the morning to invite friends or family, they gather stuffed animals to join them in the Sukkah. This story is a great introduction to the rituals of Sukkot as well as to the importance of sharing a meal together.
Sound the Shofar! A Story for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Leslie Kimmelman and John Himmelman
For ages 3-6
This book is brought to you by the authors of Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights and Hooray! It’s Passover. After the Rosh Hashanah meal, the whole family attends synagogue to hear Uncle Jake blow the shofar and bring in the new year. Ten days later, they observe Yom Kippur. This story is a great introduction to the rituals and traditions of the holiday and is a fantastic way to get your child familiar with the customs of the High Holidays.
A Watermelon in the Sukkah by Sylvia A. Rouss, Shannan Rouss and Ann Iosa
For ages 3-6
All of the children in Miss Sharon’s class bring their favorite fruits to decorate the class Sukkah. But when Michael brings a watermelon, the class must find a way to hang it! This is one of my daughter’s favorite Sukkot books.
K’tonton’s Sukkot Adventure by Sadie Rose Weilerstein
For ages 3-8
This book takes readers into a world of Jewish imagination where an etrog box becomes a bed and where our character K’tonton finds himself swinging dangerously from the end of a palm frond. Your child will love this adventure story while learning about the holiday of Sukkot.
Resources for Jewish children’s books:
If you have a child between the ages of six months and eight years, consider signing up for the PJ Library to receive one free Jewish-themed book per month. The is organization is run by the Jewish Federation and sends titles like the above books. Don’t miss out on this amazing opportunity to provide your child with a love of reading and a Jewish education.
OFJCC Leslie Family Preschool Book Fair
You can stock up on holiday books and more at the OFJCC Leslie Family Preschool Book Fair, a week-long event featuring teacher-selected books for preschool- and early elementary school-age children. The event will be held from November 30-December 4 and will also include many Hanukkah-themed books for children.