Jewish American heritage is rich with stories, traditions, and values that have shaped not only the Jewish community but also American society as a whole. One way to celebrate and preserve this heritage is through picture books written by Jewish American authors. These books not only offer glimpses into Jewish culture, history, and identity but also provide valuable lessons and insights for readers of all backgrounds.


1. “All-of-a-Kind Family” by Sydney Taylor

Sydney Taylor’s classic series, beginning with “All-of-a-Kind Family,” transports readers to the early 20th-century Lower East Side of New York City. Through the adventures of the five sisters – Ella, Henny, Sarah, Charlotte, and Gertie – readers experience Jewish immigrant life, holiday celebrations, and the bonds of family and community.


2. “The Keeping Quilt” by Patricia Polacco

In “The Keeping Quilt,” Patricia Polacco beautifully recounts her own family’s Jewish heritage. The story follows the journey of a quilt made from the clothes of her ancestors, connecting generations and preserving memories. Through vivid illustrations and heartfelt storytelling, Polacco celebrates the enduring spirit of family and tradition.


3. “Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah” by Sylvia A. Rouss

Sylvia A. Rouss introduces young readers to the adorable Sammy Spider in this charming Hanukkah tale. As Sammy watches the Shapiro family prepare for the holiday, he learns about the traditions and customs of Hanukkah. With playful illustrations and simple text, this book is perfect for introducing young children to the joys of Hanukkah.


4. “The Always Prayer Shawl” by Sheldon Oberman

“The Always Prayer Shawl” by Sheldon Oberman tells the story of a young boy named David who receives a special prayer shawl from his grandfather. Through David’s experiences, readers learn about the significance of the prayer shawl in Jewish tradition and the importance of faith and love across generations.


5. “Beni’s Family Treasury” by Jane Breskin Zalben

In “Beni’s Family Treasury,” Jane Breskin Zalben weaves together a collection of stories, recipes, and memories that celebrate Jewish family life. Through Beni’s eyes, readers discover the warmth and richness of Jewish culture, from Shabbat dinners to Passover seders. With vibrant illustrations and engaging text, this book invites readers to experience the beauty of Jewish traditions.


Honoring Jewish American Authors

Picture books written by Jewish American authors offer readers a window into the diverse experiences, traditions, and values of Jewish American heritage. From stories of immigration and family bonds to celebrations of holidays and traditions, these books capture the essence of Jewish life and culture. By sharing these stories with readers of all backgrounds, we celebrate the richness and diversity of Jewish American heritage and honor the contributions of Jewish American authors to children’s literature.



Continue to honor the contributions of Jewish Americans by bringing Youth Equity Stewardship to your school. Youth Equity Stewardship (YES) is an innovative and experiential learning process that activates and sustains authentic partnerships between adults and students leading to compelling, sustainable, vibrant communities. Facilitators foster multi-generational collaboration through music, movement, and visual arts to address complex educational challenges with an asset-based, solution-oriented process that drives continuous improvement. 

Youth Equity Stewardship