“Measuring a Year: A Rosh Hashanah Story,” by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Zara González Hoang, published by Abrams Appleseed
How would you measure a year? Marshall delves into Jewish experiences we celebrate throughout the year, including Tu Bishvat and Purim, weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs. She shares common experiences we all may have like meeting new people, getting vaccinated and helping a friend. The story provides the opportunity to reflect on the past and wish others a happy New Year. The illustrations are fun and inclusive, showing a wide range of diversity. A fantastic, sweet, and meaningful way to start the holiday season!
“Tzimmes for Tzipporah,” by Megan Hoyt, illustrated by Christine Battuz, published by Apples and Honey Press
It’s harvest time and Tzipporah is old enough to help. And best of all, she assists in making tzimmes, a traditional carrot dish for Rosh Hashanah. The captivating story and precious illustrations will draw readers in and leave mouths watering. Kids will want to smell and taste the delicious treat when they return from the synagogue. Thankfully, there’s a recipe for tzimmes included. A wonderful way to celebrate a sweet, joyous new year.
“Kayla and Kugel’s Silly Sukkot,” written and illustrated by Ann D. Koffsky, published by Apples & Honey Press
In this adorable picture book, Kayla and her dog, Kugel, get to help build a sukkah by gathering branches for the sechach. To make the sukkah special, Kayla creates art for the walls. Once the table is set, a diverse group of friends are welcomed to celebrate Sukkot. Kugel is a delight and adds humor to the story. Thoughtful questions to discuss with kids are on the last page. A beautiful story to add to your holiday collection.
“How to Welcome an Alien,” by Rebecca Klempner, illustrated by Shirley Waisman, published by Kalaniot Books
An important part of the holiday season is welcoming guests. In this clever and engaging story, the Abrahams family embrace the mitzvah of hachnasat orachim (hospitality) when aliens land in their yard. The bright and friendly illustrations show all the kind ways people can make others feel at home. Adults can utilize this book to share the Bible story of Abraham and Sarah welcoming guests into their tent, connecting those lessons for children today. Expect this to be a book kids want to hear over and over again.
“Shoham’s Bangle,” by Sarah Sassoon, illustrated by Noa Kleiner, published by Kar-Ben Publishing
As we prepare to celebrate the New Year, it’s the perfect time to share our history with our children. A story most likely not known to them comes to life through Sassoon’s ancestors. In 1951, 130,000 Iraqi and Kurdish Jews were forced to leave their homes. Sassoon shares the experience of leaving everything behind and moving to Israel, bringing traditions and a surprise baked in a pita. With detailed, compassionate illustrations capturing Jewish life in Iraq, this is an excellent picture book to share with older elementary-age children as well as an opportunity to tell family stories.
Educator and author Liza Wiemer, of Fox Point, has taught in nine of our Milwaukee-area Jewish religious schools and day schools. Her latest novel,“The Assignment,” is appropriate for ages 12 and up.