Thursday, September 3, 2020

10 Children's Books About Rosh Hashanah

Shanah Tovah!  It is almost time for Rosh Hashanah... the Jewish New Year!  Rosh Hashanah will begin this year on September 18th (on the eve of Tishrei 1) and will last until September 20 (after nightfall on Tishrei 2).  It is a time of celebration and introspection for the Jewish people.  Listed below are 10 fiction and non-fiction books about Rosh Hashanah that your students may enjoy.

10 Children's Books About Rosh Hashanah
(contains affiliate links and book descriptions from Amazon)

1. Jackie and Jessie and Joni and Jae: A Rosh Hashana Story by Chris Barash

Jackie and Jesse and Joni and Jae

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.

2. Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: With Honey, Prayers, and the Shofar by Deborah Hellingman

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur: With Honey, Prayers, and the Shofar

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur examines how these Jewish High Holy Days are celebrated worldwide. Rosh Hashanah, known as the Jewish New Year, is a time for reflection and resolution. On Yom Kippur, also called the Day of Atonement, Jews fast, pray, and ask God's forgiveness for their sins. Deborah Heiligman's lively first-person text introduces readers to the sounding of the shofar, the holidays' greeting cards, prayers, and special foods. Rabbi Shira Stern's informative note puts the High Holy Days into a wider historical and cultural context for parents and teachers.

3. Once Upon an Apple Cake: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Elana Rubenstein

Once Upon an Apple Cake

A clever story about two rival families and a Rosh Hashanah cake recipe. Saralee Siegel has a super nose she can smell things like no one's business. Her Zadie says that with a nose like that, she'll rule the world. This fast-paced, magical story about a girl who loves to cook, a rival restaurant, and a secret Rosh Hashanah cake recipe, is told in an illustrated chapter book format.

4. What Do You See on Rosh Hashanah (board book) by Bracha Goetz

A fun way for toddlers to learn vocabulary!  Teach your toddler about Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur with this bright and colorful word-and-picture book! Children will learn basic vocabulary while becoming familiar with the objects and concepts that fill their world.

5. How the Rosh Hashanah Challah Became Round by Sylvia B. Epstein

How the Rosh Hashanah Challah Became Round

Yossi's terrible tumble turns out to be a terrific triumph! A tale with year-round appeal, even though it takes place on Rosh Hashanah. A tale with year-round appeal, even though it takes place at Rosh Hashanah.

6. Apple Days: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Allison Sarnoff Soffer

Apple Days

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?

7. Rosh Hashanah (Holidays) by Julie Murray

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is a special holiday that celebrates the beginning of the Jewish New Year. Readers will learn that Jews celebrate by enjoying festive meals, eating symbolic foods like apples dipped in honey, attending synagogue services, and more. Complete with simple text and colorful photographs. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. 

8. Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons by Alice B. McGinty

Rabbi Benjamin's Buttons

Rabbi Benjamin loves his congregation, and they love him. That's why on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, the Rabbi's congregation presents him with a special holiday vest with four silver buttons and decorated with designs symbolizing the major holidays celebrated throughout the year. Rabbi Benjamin loves it! He also loves all the holiday treats that his families proudly fill him with-including delicious, crispy latkes; scrumptious matzoh-ball soup; irresistible apple torte; and honey cake. As the year passes, Rabbi Benjamin's beautiful vest stretches tighter and tighter across his belly, and one by one the shiny silver buttons pop!-pop!-pop! off. When summer comes, Rabbi helps his congregation with their gardening, with the hiding of Chanukah presents, with the apple picking, and the fishing. Will all this hard work help Rabbi fit into his beautiful vest when Rosh Hashanah rolls around again?

9. On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Kathy Goldberg Fishman

On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur

How can you tell when it is time for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur? The young girl in this story can tell when her family receives cards wishing them a happy New Year. They gather together to light candles for the holiday meal and say blessings over apples and honey. They go to synagogue to pray and hear the shofar. From New Year cards and having a special holiday meal to worshiping at the temple and sending the year's sins away on the river, the young narrator of this story describes each activity of the High Holy Days as she experiences this special time with her family.

10. Even Higher!  A Rosh Hashanah Story by Eric A. Kimmel

Even Higher!

Every year, just before Rosh Hashanah, the rabbi of Nemirov disappears. The villagers are certain their rabbi flies up to heaven to speak with God before the fate of every soul is decided for the coming year. But a skeptical Litvak scoffs at the villagers, claiming miracles cannot happen, and secretly follows the rabbi early one morning. What he witnesses--an enormous act of human compassion--changes his heart. Readers will be taken to a higher place in this celebration of the power of miracles.

This is just a small selection of Rosh Hashanah books available to readers.  What other Rosh Hashanah books would you recommend to others?  Tell us in the comments below!
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