Jewish History and Historical Fiction
Books for Children

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If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

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For history books for older readers, go to the History Books for Middle School and YA Readers Page

For historical fiction books for older readers, go to the Historical Fiction Books for Middle School and YA Readers Page

Other Pages of Interest:

Children's Jewish History and Historical Fiction Books (Page 1) | (Page 2) | (Page 3) | (Page 4) |

Easy Reader and Picture Books:
Jewish Children's Books (General) | Jewish Board Books | Biblical Stories for Children | Jewish Holiday Books | Jewish Family Cookbooks | Folktales and Talmudic Stories for Children | Jewish Life Books (Mitzvot, Keeping Kosher, etc.) | Jewish Life Cycle Books | Family Haggadahs | Children's Prayerbooks | Introductory Hebrew Books | Jewish History and Historical Fiction Picture Books | Israel Books

Middle School and YA Books:
Bar Mitzvah Books | Jewish Fiction | Historical Fiction | Torah Study | Prayer and Jewish Life Books | Jewish Holidays | Jewish Biographies | Jewish History Books | Holocaust Books for Teens | Israel Books

Jewish Children's Books | Bar Mitzvah Books | Jewish Parenting Books | Jewish Music for Children | Jewish Children's Videos | Jewish Jewelry

A Mountain of Blintzes

By Barbara Diamond Goldin
Each spring Sarah, Max, and their children look forward to celebrat-ing Shavuot with a mountain of delicious blintzes. But this year Sarah and Max are worried. Their pockets are empty, and with no extra money to spare, how can they afford to make a special treat like blintzes? Join Barbara Diamond Goldin's funny, big-hearted family in preparation for Shavuot, the Jewish holiday celebrating the day Moses received the Ten Commandments, and discover-as they do in a way that's sure to spark giggles-the true meaning of cooperation.

Description from Publisher

A delightful and satisfying tale celebrating the Jewish holiday of Shavuot. According to tradition, Jews are supposed to eat dairy foods to commemorate the day that Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai, and hardworking Sarah would love to make a mountain of cheese blintzes for her husband and five children. However, with such a large family to feed, she cannot afford to buy all the ingredients, until she comes up with an ingenious plan. For the two weeks preceding the holiday, she and her husband will each work a little extra, every day putting their additional earnings into a special coin box. With both of them saving a little each day, surely they will have enough by Shavuot. Of course, neither Sarah nor Max part with the extra coins, each rationalizing that the other will do so. Ultimately, it is their resourceful children who provide the ingredients for the celebratory mountain of blintzes. Loosely based on a traditional Chelm tale, this story is set in the Catskills in the late 1920s, providing a charming small-town locale for the sunny watercolor illustrations. Utilizing a bright, friendly palette and endearing pink-cheeked characters, the illustrations tell an amusing story within a story, as the children find their own ways to contribute to the Shavuot table. Background notes and recipe are included.

Description from School Library Journal

Rose Blanche
In wartime Germany, Rose Blanche witnesses the mistreatment of a little boy, and follows the truck that takes him to a camp. Secretly, Rose Blanche brings him and other children food. "An excellent book to use not only to teach about the Holocaust, but also about living a life of ethics, compassion, and honesty."--School Library Journal

Description from Publisher

During World War II, a young German schoolgirl, Rose Blanche, follows the soldiers when they arrest a boy and discovers a concentration camp in the woods. Thereafter , she takes food to the prisoners until the town is liberated. Ironically, when she travels to the camp on that day she is shot by the soldiers. The oppression of Fascism is shown through the powerful and realistic paintings. In Innocenti's large, meticulously detailed paintings, Rose Blanche is the only brightly colored individual, and her small figure is set against the drab colors of overwhelming buildings and masses of soldiers and townspeople. No skyline is shown until a radiant spring bursts forth at the site of her death after the liberation. Although the story is simply told, it will require interpretation as details such as the concentration camp are not named nor explained, and the death of Rose Blanche is implied but not stated. This is a difficult book to classify, as the text is easy enough for a young child to read alone, and it has the appearance of a picture bookbut the content of the text and illustrations is full of emotional impact and subtlety.

Description from School Library Journal

The Castle on Hester Street

By Linda Heller
Delightful and funny! Grandpa tells the story of his trip from Russia to New York pulled by a flying goat, of buttons the size of sleds, and of a castle on Hester Street. Grandmother tells the way it really was.

Description from Publisher

A clever way to introduce the immigrant experience. A grandfather tells his grandaughter tall tales about each stage in his immigration to the U.S. and his early life in New York. Then the grandmother deflates each tale and explains how things really were back then. I find this two-step process to be a clever way to teach children about the experience which their grandparents went through, first hooking them with a silly story, and then hitting them with the facts. The book is especially useful for reading aloud to children whose grandparents can no longer tell the story themselves, or for inspiring children to ask their grandparents about their experience.

From customer review

Shpeter: A Latecomer in Early History

Shpeter: From the Depths to the Heights
A grandfather recounts to his eager grandchildren the hair-raising adventures of Shpeter, a Jewish boy in Biblical times with the all-too-common habit of putting things off until "later." Shpeter's troublesome trait and his natural curiosity spark the amusing tales collected in these two volumes, creatively adapted from the Bible and Midrash for readers ages 6 and up.

Shpeter: A Latecomer in Early History, Book One introduces Shpeter: the last Jew in Egypt, the only Jew to swim across the Red Sea, the only one to sleep through the giving of the Torah, and the little boy who had a special meeting with Moshe Rabbeinu.

Shpeter: From the Depths to the Heights, Book Two relates further escapades of Shpeter: expert rock climber, the thirteenth spy to enter Eretz Yisrael, the plaything of nasty giants, and the inventor of the hang

Description from Publisher

The Feather-Bed Journey

By Paula Kurzband Feder
When Rachel and Lewis accidentally rip open Grandma's old feather pillow, they are puzzled by her great concern. She explains that the small pillow was once a large feather bed that belonged to her family in Poland. A child during World War II, Grandma and many other children kept warm with the feather bed in the crowded ghetto where they lived. The bed remained when Grandma left--first to hide with a Polish family, later to survive with others in the woods. At the end of the war, she was reunited with her mother and emigrated to the U.S. Eventually the bed (now reduced to pillow-size, the result of a fire) made its way back to its original owners, and Grandma has treasured it ever since.

Feder's simple text meshes nicely with Schuett's acrylic and pastel artwork, providing young children with an emotional and thoughtful glimpse at a tragic chapter of history. Useful for introducing the Holocaust to primary listeners, this may also spur children to discover their own family stories.

Description from Booklist

The Hand-Me-Down Horse
In her first children's book, Pomeranc carefully tailors to her young audience a post-Holocaust tale that ends happily for a Jewish boy and his family. Launching the story after the war has ended, the author avoids the horrifying details of the Holocaust, instead noting more generally that after the Solomons left their home in Germany they had "fled from village to village, living in forests and on farms, always seeking safety, food and shelter but finding danger and destruction instead." Now they are living in a one-room apartment in an unnamed location, waiting for their chance to board a "Liberty ship" that will take them to New York. A wooden rocking horse left behind by an American-bound child helps David pass the time and gives him hope that his turn to begin a new life will eventually arrive. Yardley's (The Bracelet) spare, pastel-hued watercolor and pen-and-ink art favors sunny depictions of David and his surroundings, reinforcing the reassuring, upbeat messages of the narrative.

Description from Publishers Weekly

  • 1997 CBC/NCSS Notable Trade Book
  • 1996 Notable Book for Children (Smithsonian Magazine)

My Name Is Rachamim
Rachamim and his family, Jews suffering from discrimination in Ethiopia, are forced to flee the country and finally make it to a new home in Israel.

Description from Publisher

Grandmother and the Runaway Shadow
Based on the author's and the illustrator's own family immigration stories, this picture book tells of a young Jewish woman coming to America to escape persecution in Eastern Europe around the turn of the century. "When my grandmother came to this country, a runaway shadow came with her." Her shadow gives her courage, makes her laugh, and shares her memories as she runs from her village, crosses the ocean, and finds a home, work, and friends in America.

The idea of a secret companion will appeal to children, but the repeated mention of the shadow on every single page is overdone, especially since the immigrant story is drama enough. The oil paintings, in shades of brown, with rhythmic, sweeping lines, capture the vitality of the period, the flowing crowds in the tenement streets, the workers in the garment factory, and the brave young woman who finds in herself--in her own shadow--the strength for her journey. There's a story like this in nearly every family.

Description from Booklist

A Knock at the Door
Although they don't know anything about her, a farmer and his wife take in a secretive, starving young woman and allow her to hide on their isolated farm when the Nazis come looking for her. Based on the experiences of the author's grandmother.

Description from Publisher
Journey to the Golden Land
Journey to the Golden Land

By Richard Rosenblum
Many years ago Benjamin and his family set out on a long journey. They were eager to leave the hard life of their Russian homeland for the comfort and wealth of America. America was far away. And getting there would involve many difficulties. There was the fear of getting caught, an over-crowded train, a packed, rocky ship, and finally, the terrors of Ellis Island.

Description from Publisher

Let the Celebrations Begin!
Miriam is 12 years old. She lives in hut 18, bed 22, in the Belsen concentration camp. She has almost nothing: no food and no toys. As World War II nears its end, Miriam and the women in the camp plan a very special party for the children. They are making toys - incredible toys out of scraps and rags. For when the soldiers come and the war is over, they will celebrate their freedom.and the power of the human spirit to survive.

Description from Publisher

Miracle in the Glass

By Ruthann Crosby
Miracle in the Glass is the captivating story of a mother and her daughter and their devotion to each other. It captures the heart and soul of the Holocaust; those who did not survive and those who dared to live on. It shows that life is not to be taken for granted. Miracle in the Glass also shows that children are our hope for the future. To save a child is to save the world.

Mrs. Crosby, in her fictional story of a mother's sacrifice for her young daughter, brings to light a unique message hidden in the modern world's most horrific crime against humanity. Often stories of the Holocaust are fraught with unspeakable despair and human tragedy. However, Mrs. Crosby, through her tender story, illuminates the effect of the Holocaust that forever vanquished the Nazi's hope of destroying the Jewish nation. The Holocaust begot a generation of Jews with a stronger and deeper faith in G-d than ever before.

Survivors of the Holocaust were touched by the power of the Almighty who granted strength and courage in times of despair. As illustrated by Sasha's embrace of her mother's faith, these survivors grew a renewed commitment to Judaism and the strong desire to kindle this faith in future generations. Instead of destroying the Jewish faith, the Holocaust served to make us stronger and to define the eternal nature of Judaism. This growing cycle of faith is our resounding answer to the atrocities which occurred during World War II.

Description from Publisher

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