Skip to content Skip to footer

JVF Criteria, Scope, Mission

Selection Criteria

The Jewish Values Finder is a selective guide and not every book of Jewish content is included. To be included in this guide, a book must meet the following criteria:
  • It is written for children from preschool through high school. Grade levels for each book are given from Toddler to Grade 12. Most books are listed with a range of grades, i.e., Gr. 6-8. The designation ADULT is given when the audience for the book includes adult family members or teachers and other Jewish professionals.
  • It meets recognized standards of literary and artistic quality within a range from outstanding to acceptable. Annotations will point out weaknesses in literary or artistic quality when appropriate.
  • It has Jewish content exemplified by character, time, place, or theme, or it was originally written in Hebrew. The Jewish content is presented accurately, authentically, and with sensitivity to Jewish concerns.
  • To be fully appreciated by children, it merits introduction by a knowledgeable librarian, teacher, or parent.
  • It has potential for use in the curricula of Jewish day schools and supplementary schools in one or more denominations of North American Judaism.
  • It is not a textbook.
In rare cases, titles that do not meet the above criteria are included because of their relevance to Jewish issues or their current importance.


Books of Jewish content that meet the above criteria are or will be included in the database. Most of the books are in English, but Hebrew-English or English-Yiddish works and translations from Hebrew or Yiddish into English are included as well. Picture books, fiction, non-fiction, and biography are considered for inclusion but not reference works such as encyclopedias or almanacs. Each book entry contains the following fields: author, title, illustrator, publisher, date of publication, number of pages, ISBN, an annotation, age level(s), its Jewish values, its subjects, and if it won a Sydney Taylor Book Award. The database is searchable by title, author, illustrator, publisher, date of publication, subject and values.

Mission and History

The purpose of the Jewish Values Finder is to identify the Jewish values found in books written for Jewish children and teens in English or in translation. The Jewish Values Finder is a selective guide; not every book of Jewish content is included. See criteria below.

What makes a value Jewish? The answer changes as Jewish children’s literature evolves, but this explanation is helpful: “Basic to all the higher religions are ideals corresponding closely to those described as Jewish. Non-religious, as well as religious, ethical thinkers have expounded the worth of humility, truth, love, and compassion. If the adjective “Jewish” is used the intention is to suggest: (a) that these values receive a special kind of emphasis in the Jewish tradition, a Jewish way of looking at them, and (b) that they are no remote ideals but are a real, vital force in the lives of Jews” (The Jewish Religion: A Companion  by Louis Jacobs (Oxford University Press, 1995, p. 574).

The precursor to the Jewish Values Finder is Marcia Posner’s serial publication Juvenile Judaica. When updates to Juvenile Judaica stopped being issued in 1995, librarians, teachers, parents, and other users lost an authoritative single source of information and selection guidance for children’s books of Jewish content. With more books of this type being published each year, the need became ever more pronounced. As Jewish values have become an increasingly important concept in Jewish education, both formal and informal, the responsibility to create a new guide was recognized and assumed by Dr. Posner and the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), the author and publisher respectively of Juvenile Judaica.

Linda Silver, Jewish librarian extraordinaire, spearheaded the database project, and the Jewish Values Finder was launched online by the Association of Jewish Libraries in 2006. Linda Silver served as editor until 2012.

Please contact the editor at with any questions or comment.