Rosh Hashanah Books for Little Kids

To my mind, Rosh Hashanah books for young children are at best OK and at worst, very annoying. For little kids, you don’t tend to get a great story, you get object identification and something to chew on. That said, there are some better than others and here are my favorites (in order of age appropriateness).

Happy Birthday, World

Happy Birthday, World

Happy Birthday World by Latifa Berry Kropf

Happy Birthday, World is a sweet board book that compares Rosh Hashanah, the birthday of the world, to a child’s birthday. “On your birthday, you eat a delicious birthday cake. / On this birthday, we eat crisp apples dipped in honey.” I’m not crazy about the illustrations, but that’s just a taste issue. Basically, it’s a good one for toddlers (though I feel like few of them have a real sense of what a birthday is…).

Apples and Honey

Apples and Honey

Apples and Honey by Joan Holub

If your child is ready for something a little bit more sophisticated than a board book, Apples and Honey is actually a nice choice. A lift-the-flap book, this one has a bit of a plot as a family prepares for Rosh Hashanah. The illustrations are lovely, but the book is stapled together, giving it that lovely supermarket feel. I’m a big fan, but I do wish they would have spent the extra pennies to get a real binding.

It's Shofar Time!

It's Shofar Time!

It’s Shofar Time! by Latifa Berry Kropf

It’s Shofar Time! is part of a well-known series of photo essay books for little kids around the Jewish holidays. They all take place at a lovely looking Jewish preschool in Charlottesville, VA, as a group of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural children celebrate the Jewish holidays. Surprisingly, it’s actually a lovely series and this book — centered around Rosh Hashanah is no exception. In my experience, children love looking at photos of other children and in addition to having age-appropriate text, it’s also a great advertisement for Jewish preschool.

Sammy Spider’s First Rosh Hashanah by Sylvia Rouss

Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah

Sammy Spider's First Rosh Hashanah

And finally, it would be difficult to have a list of holiday books for little children without a mention of Sammy Spider. Sammy, for those who haven’t had the “pleasure” of meeting him, is a curious little spider who lives with his mother in the Shapiro household. Sammy watches the Shapiros celebrate their holidays and constantly wants to join in. His mother like to remind him (over and over again): “Silly little Sammy. Spiders don’t … . Spider’s spin webs.” So, not great for teaching your child they can do anything they want, but the books are a good model of Jewish families living Jewishly (but not too Jewishly). In this “adventure,” Sammy learns all about Rosh Hashanah but not before he accidentally gets stuck in the sticky honey. Parents will likely find Sammy tiresome pretty quickly but unfortunately, kids really seem to like him. He’s kind of like the Jewish Curious George.

1 Comment »

  1. nina said

    Yeah!!!!!! But it’s not just parents who tire quickly of Sammy Spider. Teachers too.

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