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Picture Books with Jews of Color, Sephardi, and Mizrachi Jews

In an effort to diversify the Jewish representation in our Religious School curriculum, we've compiled a list of pictures books with Jewish content that include Jews of color and Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews. Most of these books are available in the Minuteman and Boston Public Library systems, and many are also in the CDT library.

The list is as comprehensive as we could make it, and the presence of a book on this list doesn't necessarily mean we recommend it. Please be sure to read the comments, and if you have something to add please be in touch!

For a list of books organized by topic, click here.

Have comments or feedback about the list? We'd love to hear from you! Please email Lidia at L.Pruente@dorsheitzedek.org.

The Jews: One People
By: Barbara Bar-Nissim
Illustrated by: Marlene Lobell Ruthen
Age range: 3-5
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: This beautiful illustrated book introduces children to the people of Israel. The book highlights the diverse practice of Judaism around the globe and explains holidays and life cycle events.

Lidia's comments:

Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae
By: Chris Barash
Illustrated by: Christine Battuz
Age range: 5-7
Subject: High Holydays
Synopsis: Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae walked down to the river one fine autumn day. Neighbors and friends and the rabbi went too. There was something called tashlich they needed to do. On Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, four friends reflect on mistakes they ve made in the past year, they apologize for hurting each other s feelings, and they think about how they will do better in the new year. The title characters in this gentle story model character traits including friendship, honesty, compassion, and empathy, while exploring a lesser-known Jewish holiday tradition.

Lidia's comments: This book has a main character who is a Jew of color, and does a nice job of modeling conflict resolution. We recommend it to our Religious School teachers for lessons specifically relating to taschlich.

Afikomen Mambo
By: Joe Black
Illustrated by: Linda Prater
Age range: 2-4
Subject: Passover
Synopsis: Popular children's songster and author of Boker Tov!, Rabbi Joe Black returns with a catchy rhyme to enliven the afikomen hunt at your seder. This title includes lively pictures and a sing-along CD.

Lidia's comments: This book features a multiracial group of kids dancing as they look for the afikomen. We use it in our kindergarten/pre-k curriculum. 

Ezra's BIG Shabbat Question
By: Aviva L. Brown
Illustrated by: Anastasia Kanavaliuk
Age Range: 6-10
Subject: Shabbat
Synopsis: Meet Ezra, an American Jewish boy with big ideas and an even bigger family. He has a question about if he can do an action on Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest. When no one he knows is helpful, he turns to his rabbi, who both answers the question and leaves him more confused. Even if he gets his answer, will he know what to do with it?

Lidia's comments: Although the book seems a bit contrived at times, it's a nice story. We like this one because it's one of the few books that's both about and written by a Jew of color. It's not available at the public library yet, but you can borrow it from us!

Hanukkah Moon
By: Deborah Da Costa
Illustrated by: Gosia Mosz
Age Range: 6-10
Subject: Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh
Synopsis: 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. Isobel's days at Aunt Luisa's are filled with fun and surprises -- a new camera, a dreidel pinata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah. An unusual Hanukkah story with a multi-cultural focus, this title celebrates a little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community.

Lidia's comments: This book goes into more detail about Rosh Chodesh than Chanukah, so it's good for lessons on Rosh Chodesh. While I think the book helps normalize sephardic households in our typically ashkenormative library, I'm not sure which little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community is brought to light here.

I Love Jewish Faces
By: Debra B. Darvick
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: In ninety-four words and thirty-plus photos, I Love Jewish Faces turns the image of the Yiddishe punim (Jewish face) on its head. Debra Darvick s delightful picture book mirrors today s emerging Jewish reality: a Jewish face is dark-haired and dark-eyed and blonde and blue-eyed. A Jewish face belongs to a Chinese adoptee and to a newborn from Guatamala. It s the face of an African American convert and that of a festively dressed bride from India. I Love Jewish Faces sings the long overdue song of Jewish diversity with passion, honesty, and celebration. Children adopted from other countries need to see themselves in their Jewish books, says Darvick. Their friends and classmates need reminding that not all Jewish faces resemble those of European Jews. I Love Jewish Faces affirms identity, embraces diversity, and celebrates Jewish life, all in one remarkable little book.

Lidia's comments:

The World Is Awake: A Celebration of Everyday Blessings
By:
 Linsey Davis
Illustrated by: Lucy Fleming
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: This joyful journey through an ordinary day inspires children to be thankful for all of God’s blessings that surround them. From blooming flowers in the backyard to the roaring animals at the zoo … The World Is Awake!

Lidia's comments: 

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas
By:
 Pamela Ehrenberg
Illustrated by: Anjan Sarkar
Age range: 4-7
Subject: Chanukah
Synopsis: In this sweet and humorous picture book, Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas, a multi-cultural family (Mom's Indian; Dad's Jewish) celebrate Hanukkah while incorporating traditional Indian food. Instead of latkes, this family celebrates Hanukkah with tasty Indian dosas. To her brother's chagrin, little Sadie won't stop climbing on everything both at home and at the Indian grocery store, even while preparing the dosas. As the family puts the finishing touches on their holiday preparations, they accidentally get locked out of the house. Sadie and her climbing skills just may be exactly what is needed to save the day.

Lidia's comments: ​​​​​​​

The Secret Shofar of Barcelona
By:
 Jacqueline Dembar Greene
Illustrated by: Douglas Chayka
Age range: 5-9
Subject: High Holydays
Synopsis: Musician Don Fernando longs to hear the sounds of the shofar on the High Holidays, but, like the other secret Jews in Inquisition Spain, he must hide his religion. But when he is asked to perform a symphony celebrating the new world, he and his son Rafael devise a daring plan to usher in the Jewish New Year right in plain sight of the Spanish nobility!​​​​​​​

Lidia's comments: 


 

Always an Olivia: A Remarkable Family History
By:
 Carolivia Herron
Illustrated by: Jeremy Tugeau
Age range: 7-10
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: 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 honor the Jewish part of their ancestry. Critically-acclaimed author Carolivia Herron (Nappy Hair) shares this engaging, multicultural tale is based on her own family's heritage.

Lidia's comments: I read this a long time ago and can't remember if the characters in this book identify as Jewish, but they certainly identify as having Jewish heritage. According to the Jewish Women's Archive, Herron's "contribution to representations of Jews of color in children’s literature was recognized with Be’chol Lashon’s Media Award for Always an Olivia: A Remarkable Family History (2007) in which she traces her own lineage to Sephardic Jews who found refuge on the Georgia coast in a community of descendants of enslaved Africans."

Elan, Son of Two Peoples
By: Heidi Smith Hyde
Illustrated by: Mikela Prevost
Age range: 5-9
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: "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.

Lidia's comments: At the back of the book, there's some information about the real people that the story is based off of.

 

Never Say a Mean Word Again
By: Jacqueline Jules
Illustrated by: Durga Yael Bernhard
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Morality
Synopsis: No one ignores the grand vizier. The most important advisor in the royal court, he was considered the wisest man in the kingdom. He was also Samuel s father. Make sure Hamza never says a mean word to you again, he had ordered Samuel. What should Samuel do? He couldn't disobey his father. But how would he make sure that Hamza never insulted him again? Perhaps train a monkey to hold Hamza s lips closed, or give him some lemon juice to make his mouth pucker? Inspired by a powerful legend of conflict resolution in Muslim Spain, Never Say a Mean Word Again is the compelling story of a boy who is given permission to punish an enemy. What will he do?"

Lidia's comments: It's a book about conflict resolution and saying nice things to each other! Perfect for lessons on lashon hara; we recommend it to our Religious School teachers for our second grade curriculum. 

Who's Got the Etrog?
By: Jane Kohuth
Illustrated by: Elissambura
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Sukkot
Synopsis: Auntie Sanyu builds a sukkah in her Ugandan garden. Curious wildlife―the Warthog, the Lion, the Giraffe, the Elephant, and other animals―come to celebrate the Sukkot holiday. They all want to shake the lulav and smell the etrog, but will selfish Warthog learn to share?

Lidia's comments: According to the Jewish Journal, "Kohuth emphasized that “Who’s Got the Etrog” is not a Ugandan story, but is informed by the reading she did about the Abayudaya and their religious rituals, and by looking at photographs of the community, including a photo of a sukkah." CDT's preschool/kindergarten teacher commented that she likes how the rhymes in this book are a bit more creative than typical books for this age group.

A Turn for Noah: A Hanukkah Story
By: Susan Remick Topek
Illustrated by: Sally Springer
Age range: 2-4
Subject: Chanukah
Synopsis: Noah has trouble learning to spin the dreidel as his nursery school class celebrates Hanukkah.

Lidia's comments: One of the kids illustrated in the background appears to be a Jew of color.

 

Hanukkah Around the World
By:
 Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Illustrated by: Vicki Wehrman
Age range: 
Subject: Chanukah
Synopsis: 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.

Lidia's comments: 

 

Let's Talk About Race
By: Julius Lester
Illustrated by: Karen Barbour
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: I am a story. So are you. So is everyone. Julius Lester says, "I write because our lives are stories. If enough of these stories are told, then perhaps we will begin to see that our lives are the same story. The differences are merely in the details." Now Mr. Lester shares his own story as he explores what makes each of us special. Karen Barbour's dramatic, vibrant paintings speak to the heart of Lester's unique vision, truly a celebration of all of us.

Lidia's comments: This book doesn't have Jewish content per se, but it's one of the few I could find by a Jew of Color.

Be'chol Lashon published a review, along with a read aloud video and discussion questions.


 

What a Truly Cool World
By:
 Julius Lester
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Bible Stories
Synopsis: Discovering that making a world takes a lot of work, God calls on his secretary Bruce and the angel Shaniqua to help him create bushes, grass, flowers, and butterflies. By the award-winning author of How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have!

Lidia's comments: I like this book and can see it fitting into our curriculum. If you're planning to read this book out load, I'd ask you to think about verbal blackface and make sure you're being respectful.
 

Why is Heaven Far Away?
By: Julius Lester
Illustrated by: Joe Cepeda
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: God, His wife Irene, His secretary Bruce, & the angel Shaniqua have a problem to solve. When God gives Snakes poison to protect themselves, He doesn't expect them to bite everything in sight. Now all at once people & animals are climbing up the ladders connecting heaven & earth, & creating chaos in God's kingdom! But with a little help from Shaniqua & Irene & their beautiful singing voices, God has everyone dancing down the ladders to earth. The snakes get other kinds of defenses (& a talking to), & the ladders get pulled up to prevent further ruckuses, which is why heaven is far away.

Lidia's comments: The personification of God seems a bit non-Jewish, but it's a nice story and could perhaps be used to teach about midrash. If you're planning to read this book out load, I'd ask you to think about verbal blackface and make sure you're being respectful.

Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup
By: Pamela Mayer
Illustrated by: Deborah Melmon
Age range: 5-9
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: Two grandmas. Two delicious recipes. And one granddaughter caught in the middle! 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?​​​​​​​

Lidia's comments: 

 

The Chameleon that Saved Noah's Ark
By: Yael Molchadsky
Illustrated by: Orit Bergman
Age range: 5-8
Subject: Bible Stories

Synopsis:Striking folk-art-style paintings illustrate this charming tale about the purpose of every creature and the harmony of nature.

Lidia's comments: In this book, the sons of Noah have a variety of different skin tones.

Treasury of Bible Stories
By: Donna Jo Napoli
Illustrated by: Christina Balit
Age range: 8-12
Subject: Bible Stories

Synopsis:The timeless tales from the early books of the Bible have captivated generations. In this lush storybook, the fresh voice of lyrical storyteller Donna Jo Napoli and the lavish artwork of Christina Balit bring classic stories to life for a young, modern audience.

Lidia's comments: Our Pre-K/Kindergarten/3rd Grade teacher liked this book enough to get her own copy.

According to a note in the introduction, the  illustrations were “informed by findings of archaeologists and biologists, including more recent work in biogenetics. For example, the people in our illustrations range in skin tone and facial characteristics. They are sometimes starkly different from Western depictions common from medieval through modern times, which were often modeled on the illustrators themselves. Skin tone is an unreliable clue to biogeography and human genetic relationships – instead, variation is common. We have therefore chosen to represent the people in these stories with the widely varying characteristics of those currently living in the areas these stories took place – from present-day Ethiopia in Africa across the Near East.”

A Tale of Two Seders
By: Mindy Avra Portnoy
Illustrated by: Valeria Cis
Age range: 4-9
Subject: Passover
Synopsis: When her parents get divorced, a little girl is worried about many things, including how she will celebrate the Jewish holidays in two different households. They holiday of Passover gives her a chance to celebrate separately with each parent. Over the course of three years and six seders, she and her family work to adjust to this new world, creating happy new lives and new family traditions.

Lidia's comments: While the background characters have a variety of skin tones, I don't know how I feel that the only obvious person of color in this book is a toy doll.


 

Yosef's Dream
By: Sylvia Rouss
Illustrated by: Tamar Blumenfeld
Age range: 7-9
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: 
Now a young man in Israel, Yosef remembers his past in Ethiopia, and the dream he had as a child, in which he was given a choice. Should he climb mountains with Gazelle, never belonging anywhere? Hide in the shadows, with Hyena? Or grab hold of Eagle's wings and be taken far, far away? Yosef chooses the last, along with his family to fly to Israel, the land of their ancestors fulfilling their long-held dream. An author's note provides background about the Jews of Ethiopia and the 1991 rescue mission, called Operation Solomon, in which 14,000 Ethiopian Jews were flown to Israel.

Lidia's comments: I haven't read this book, so my only comment is that while it's important to teach about Jews from all over the globe, it's also important to have representation of Jews of color in our community and not to exoticize people of color.

Abuelita's Secret Matzahs
By: Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Illustrated by: Diana Bryer
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: Abuelita’s Secret Matzahs tells the fascinating and little-known story of the Cryptojews, while illustrating the universal importance of faith for people of all religious denominations. Jacobo loves to visit his abuelita, his grandmother, especially at Easter time. But Abuelita has a big secret. During semana santa, Holy Week, his grandmother never makes bread, only tortillas made without yeast. She never eats pork, and she lights two candles on Friday nights. But 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 . . ."

Lidia's comments: I'm not sure if the characters in this book identify as Jewish, but they certainly identify as having Jewish heritage. 

When God Gave us Words
By: Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Illustrated by: Darcy Day Zoells
Age range: 4-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis:  Award-winning children’s book author Sandy Eisenberg Sasso tells a creative tale about the origin of words, and the power of language, in When God Gave Us Words. Inside this innovative children’s book, God gives the power of words to humankind. At first, God and the angels are pleased with how people use words, but over time they start to use words to make curses, lies, and threats. The angels beg God to take back the gift of language, and just as God is about to take it back, new, beautiful words begin to fill the air. When God Gave Us Words features imaginative illustrations by Darcy Day Zoells.

Lidia's comments: 

Day of Delight: A Jewish Sabbath in Ethiopia
By: Maxine Rose Schur
Illustrated by: J. Brian Pinkney
Age range: 6-10
Subject: Shabbat
Synopsis: Depicting a culture that is quickly vanishing, the story of the Ethiopian Jews is told through the eyes of a young boy as his family and friends prepare for the sabbath or "day of delight." The spare, poetic text evokes an Ethiopian Jewish village as seen through the eyes of a villager boy on one Sabbath day. Illustrated by Caldecott Award winner Brian Pinkney.

Lidia's comments: While it's important to teach about Jewish practices from all over the globe, it's also important to have representation of Jews of color in our community and not to exoticize people of color. I'm cautious of the attitude that while European Jews have embraced modernization beyond the shtetl life, Jews of color have some kind of obligation to preserve white people's notion of a pure, pre-industrialized past.

The Sabbath Lion: A Jewish Folktale from Algeria
By:
 Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush
Illustrated by: Stephen Fieser
Age range: 4-10
Subject: Shabbat
Synopsis:  When young Yosef makes a long journey by caravan to claim an inheritance for his family, the cruel-hearted leader refuses to stop for the Sabbath. Yosef is afraid to leave the caravan, but his devotion keeps him from going on, and he stays alone and prays. Then something wonderful happens.

Lidia's comments: 

What Makes Someone a Jew?
By:
 Lauren Seidman
Age range: 5-6
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis:  Is being Jewish a matter of how you look, or how you live? Using everyday examples that children can relate to, this colorful book helps all young Jewish readers understand what it really means to be a Jew. A vibrant and fun way for children to develop a broader knowledge of Judaism and the Jewish People, this book gently guides children down their own path of Jewish spiritual discovery … and reminds us all that being Jewish is about our deeds, thoughts, and heart

Lidia's comments: 

Yuvi's Candy Tree
By:
 Lesley Simpson
Illustrated by: Janice Lee Porter
Age range: 5-9
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: In Ethiopia, Yuvi dreams of a land where water flows, bread is plentiful, and candy grows on trees. But it is only after a difficult journey that she arrives in Israel, where it appears that her dreams have come true.

Lidia's comments: Note the comment from C.G. Griffin on Goodreads.com: "This is beautifully illustrated, and I've been looking for more stories for my daughter about aliyah and Jewish communities from around the world. I would have rated this far higher, except that when Yuvi and her family arrive in Israel, there is a passage that I really wish the Kar-Ben editors had done something with. Meeting Israeli women who care for the new olim, Yuvi comments that these are the first white people she's ever seen, and she 'thought they were angels'. Later one woman is referred to as 'the white angel'. The book is based on the actual childhood experiences of Yuvi Tashome, who worked with the author, but as a white American Jew looking for stories to share with her daughter, it's a problem for me to relay the idea that being white makes you look like an angel. It would have felt much better if someone had said to Yuvi that these ladies aren't angels, but Jews like Yuvi and her family, or something, but it stands alone, and it definitely makes the book less of a teaching tool for me as a parent."

Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story
By:
 Allison Sarnoff Soffer
Illustrated by: Bob McMahon
Age range: 2-7
Subject: High Holydays
Synopsis:  Katy's favorite holiday is Rosh Hashanah, when she gets to pick apples and make applesauce with her mother. But what happens when the tradition is interrupted by the early arrival of her baby cousin?

Lidia's comments: I think one of the background characters in the illustrations appears to be a Jew of color.

Golemito
By:
 Ilan Stavans
Illustrated by: Teresa Villegas
Age range: 8-11
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis:   Originally published in the children’s magazine Cricket, Golemito is the story of how a couple of Jewish boys in Mexico City confront bullying by creating a Golem, the mythical creature of Jewish folklore, originally made by Rabbi Lowe, known as the Maharal of Prague, in the sixteenth century, to defend the city’s Jewish community from anti-Semitic attacks. Sammy Nurko, along with the story’s narrator, conjure an Aztec version of the Golem that is minute in size and responds to enchanting Nahuatl poetry. Written by internationally renowned, prize-winning author Ilan Stavans and illustrated by Teresa Villegas, Golemito is both an endearing tale of courage and redemption and an enthralling fusion of the Jewish and Latino traditions.

Lidia's comments: I absolutely love the poem at the end of this book, where Nahuatl poetry has the power of creation that Hebrew words typically have in Jewish creation stories. 

The Best Sukkot Pumpkin Ever
By:
 Laya Steinberg
Illustrated by: Colleen Madden
Age range: 4-9
Subject: Sukkot
Synopsis:   It's almost Sukkot, and Micah and his family are heading to Farmer Jared's pumpkin patch. Micah wants to find the very best pumpkin to decorate his family's sukkah, but Farmer Jared says his pumpkins can also go to a soup kitchen, to feed people who need a good meal. What will Micah decide to do with the best Sukkot pumpkin ever?

Lidia's comments: A few of Micah's classmates who we see in the background appear to be Asian.

Rebecca's Journey Home
By:
 Brynn Olenberg Sugerman
Illustrated by: Michelle Shapiro
Age range: 4-9
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis:  A Jewish family adopts a baby from Vietnam and her new brothers eagerly await her homecoming.

Lidia's comments: 

When God Made Light
By:
 Matthew Paul Turner
Illustrated by: David Catrow
Age range: 3-7
Subject: Bible Stories
Synopsis: Let there be light!' that's what God said. And light began shining and then started to spread." Wild and creative illustrations from top children's illustrator David Catrow pair with Matthew Paul Turner's lyrical verse in this message of a God-made light that cuts through darkness to bring vision and hope to all young readers. This light radiates, chasing away the shadows, providing the wonder and fun of stargazing or firefly chasing. Most important, this light appears in each child--an inner God-given spark that grows and will be used to change the world.

Lidia's comments: 

Let There Be Light
By:
 Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Illustrated by: Nancy Tillman
Age range: 4-10
Subject: Bible Stories
Synopsis: This retelling of the biblical story of creation vividly portrays the wonder and beauty of God’s creation on each of the seven days. Using Archbishop Tutu’s lyrical text from the Children of God Storybook Bible and Tillman’s remarkable illustrations, Let There Be Light brings the story of creation to life for readers young and old.

Lidia's comments: This is one of the few books I could find where God creates humans of all different races. Some adults seem put off by the art style in this book, but I love it.

Hillel Takes a Bath
By:
 Vicki L. Weber
Illustrated by: John Joven
Age range: 5-6
Subject: Morality
Synopsis:  Today I will use this cloth to do a mitzvah! Hillel the Sage announced to his class. He whisked the cloth off his shoulder and snapped it in the air. The rabbi s students were puzzled and delighted. What could be done with a cloth? What mysterious mitzvah could it be? Through this charming story about the famous Hillel of the Talmud, readers will enjoy discovering that the mysterious mitzvah is taking a bath! The note for families at the back of the book will help readers dig deeper and let them think more about the Jewish value of guarding one s health, shmor et nafshecha, and how having healthy habits (like taking baths) is an important Jewish value.

Lidia's comments: Hillel has a few students with a variety of skin tones, who follow him throughout the book. Our second graders really enjoyed this book for their lesson on shmirat haguf, taking care of the body.

Jalapeno Bagels
By:
 Natasha Wing
Illustrated by: Robert Casilla
Age range: 5-8
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: While trying to decide what to take for his school's International Day, Pablo helps his Mexican mother and Jewish father at their bakery and discovers a food that represents both his parents' backgrounds.

Lidia's comments: 

The Enduring Ark
By:
 Joydeb Chitrakar and Gita Wolf
Age range: 6-9
Subject: Bible Stories
Synopsis:  Although dubbed an "Indian version of the Biblical tale," Wolf's narrative differs little from many available picture books about Noah. Disappointed by greedy, violent people, God vows to wipe out creation and start again. Noah and his wife build an ark, gather animals, and survive the flood that destroys every other living thing. Forty days later, they land on a mountain. After a dove returns with an olive branch, everyone disembarks. God thanks the weary humans by creating a rainbow as a sign of hope.

Lidia's comments: This follows the basic biblical text and storyline, but with an Indian art style. The pages fold out accordion-style, so you can unfold the whole thing to see how the images tell the story. It's pretty cool for read aloud and art gallery activities, but can be confusing for young kids reading the book independently.

Almost a Minyan
By:
 Lori S. Kline
Illustrated by: Susan Simon
Age range: 6-9
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: Almost a Minyan, the latest offering from Austin’s Sociosights Press, brings children into the world of a loving daughter and granddaughter whose family stays connected to each other and to the past through sacred ritual. The book is a multi-generational love story for Jewish traditions.

Lidia's comments: The main character in this story comes from a multiracial household. It's not the focus of the book, but just part of her life.

Hare and Tortoise Race Across Israel
By:
 Laura Gehl
Illustrated by: Sarah Goodreau
Age range: 4-7
Subject: Misc.
Synopsis: "Anyone who knows 'The Tortoise and the Hare' probably remembers the moral: Slow and steady wins the race. This version of the story has a second moral: Go to Israel. In this picture book, the title characters are friends who live in Tel Aviv, and they're racing each other to the Dead Sea. Hare keeps getting distracted by the local sights. He stops by the shuk to buy dried apricots. He sits down in an oasis to enjoy tea and baklava. Readers will sympathize. Every page is full of so many wonderful distractions that the book feels like an ad for the Israeli tourist industry. If readers look closely at the artwork, they'll see a bear on top of a unicycle, juggling as it rides, and a cat floating in the water, reading the paper. Instead of teaching the value of slow and steady progress, this version of the fable says: Stop and look around; there are olive groves and persimmon trees. The book is full of mixed messages, but if the moral is confused, readers won't mind. There are animals everywhere: whales and ravens and swimming camels. They're made up of bold, geometric shapes in gorgeous pastel colors. If the story teaches any lesson at all, it's this: A short attention span can be a glorious thing, particularly in a place like this." -- Kirkus Reviews

Lidia's comments: 

Wed, July 8 2020 16 Tammuz 5780