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Jewish ValuesFinder

When I sent out an email to AJL members asking for Tu B'Shevat resources for a blog post, I was overwhelmed by the responses.

AJL's Bibliography Bank has lots of resources, including two dedicated bibliographies just on Tu B'Shevat and lots of other suggestions mixed in with bibliographies on holidays and children's literature.

You can also search in AJL's fabulous Jewish ValuesFinder resource.

AJL Librarian Melinda Herman of the Beth-El Synagogue Center recommends A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry and Marc Simont, Zolkower's It's Tu B'Shevat, Gold-Vukson's Grandpa and Me on  Tu B'Shevat, The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco, Behold the Trees by Sue Alexander and Leonid Gore, and Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand by Arthur A. Levine and Robert Roth.

The Jewish Community Library of Greater New Haven responded with a link to their catalog, where you can find lots of great Tu B'Shevat materials. Click on "holidays" under EXPLORE.  Then click on Tu B'Shevat.

Publisher Kar-Ben sent me a link to their selection of Tu B'Shevat books.

AJL Librarian Basya Karp of the Shulamith High School and the Shulamith School for Girls says "Dear Tree by Doba Rivka Weber (Hachai Publishing) is a gem of a book in which a young boy expresses his wish that his favorite tree should always have what it needs to flourish."

AJL Librarian Natasha Krause of the Vancouver  Talmud Torah School likes The Giving Tree, Sammy Spider’s Tu B’Shevat and Grandpa and me on Tu B’Shevat by Marji Gold-Vukson.

AJL librarian Barbara Mende suggested Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree and Sylvia Rouss's Sammy Spider's Tu B'Shevat and It's Tu B'Shevat by Edie Stoltz Zolkower.

Jennifer Russell, an MLIS student in Ohio, says "I really enjoyed Behold the Trees by Sue Alexander (a history of the land of Israel focusing on the fate of the trees) for upper elementary readers (although it's in picture book format, it's a sophisticated narrative).  The illustrations, by Leonid Gore, are excellent. And there's always the picture book Solomon and the Trees, by Matt Biers-Ariel."

AJL librarian and kidlit guru Linda Silver created a bibliography, For the Trees, for the Greater Cleveland AJL's blog.

AJL Librarian Ellen Tilman of Meyers Library, Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, says "We define Tu B'Shevat very broadly and include books about trees and the environment.  I am particularly fond of the two books about Wangari and her planting trees in Kenya. (Planting the Trees of Kenya and Wangari's Trees of Peace.)"

I also received a number of full-length bibliographies and shelflists that I wasn't able to include on a brief blog post but I encourage you all to visit your local synagogue or community-center library to check out their holdings- there's a lot of great stuff out there!

Feel free to leave a comment on this post with your favorite Tu B'Shevat books for children- or adults!

Posted by Marie.

Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Illus. by Amy Cartwright. Price Stern Sloan. Preschool. The familiar words of the children’s Hanukkah song flow along the pages of this charmingly illustrated board book. There’s a nice surprise waiting at the end: a pop-up scene with a spinning menorah.


Eight Winter Nights by Laura Kraus Melmed. Illus. by Elizabeth Schlossberg. Chronicle. Preschool-Kdg. Short verses tell the story of a family’s enjoyment of Hanukkah, from lighting the menorah to singing, dancing, eating, and giving tzedakah. The pencil and pastel illustrations in shades of rust and magenta bathe the story in a warm, cozy light. End notes give background on the holiday and its traditions.


The Hanukkah Trike by Michelle Edwards. Illus. by Kathryn Mitter. Albert Whitman. Kdg. – Gr. 2. A little girl named Gabi is thrilled to receive a new tricycle at the end of the first night of Hanukkah. She names it “Hanukkah” but is daunted when she tries to ride it and falls off. The story of the Maccabees inspires her to persevere and her success is captured in bright paintings as well as in a rather bland text.


Happy Hanukkah Lights by Jacqueline Jules. Illus. by Michelle Shapiro. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Preschool. Rhymes, counting, and Jewish traditions are combined in this board book that shows a family’s joyful Hanukkah celebrations on all eight nights. The illustrations are cheerful and child-like.


Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson. Illus. by E. B. Lewis. Viking. Gr. 1-4. When young Steve Satlow helps his neighbors, the family of the baseball great, Jackie Robinson, trim their Christmas tree, he tells them that his family has no tree of their own. Not realizing that the Satlows are Jewish, Jackie delivers them one. After a few awkward moments, the Satlows decide that for this year only, they’ll have both a menorah and a Christmas tree. Jackie Robinson’s daughter wrote this handsomely illustrated story based on real events and it abounds with friendship and understanding.


The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah by Bill Berlin and Susan Isakoff Berlin. Illus. by Peter J. Welling. Pelican. Preschool-Kdg. There is no joy in Oyville when the local kvetch steals all of the menorahs. But fear not: the town’s brave children confront the old man, regale him with the story of the Macabbees and the true meaning of Hanukkah, and accomplish a miracle by opening the kvetch’s heart and mind to the joy of the holiday. Unpolished but energetic illustrations abound in a zany story that is meant to remind children of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch.


Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley. Illus. by David Harrington. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Kdg. - Gr.3. The story of how Judah and the Maccabees fought the tyrant Antiochus for religious freedom o the Jews and the restoration of the Temple is retold in this animated rhyme punctuated by a repeated refrain: "Sometimes it only takes a few,/ Who know what's right, and do it, too." The rhythmic narrative is enhanced by bold paintings and would lend itself to readers' theatre.


www.ajljewishvalues.org

A recommended reading list from AJL's Jewish Valuesfinder:


Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express. Illus. by Shahar Kober. Kar-Ben/Lerner. The chipper trio of railroad engineers first met in Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride builld a sukkah and place it on the train to share with all their friends along the tracks from Jaffa to Jerusalem. ( Kdg; Primary)

Even Higher: A Rosh Hashanah Story by Eric A. Kimmel. Illus. by Jill Weber. Holiday House. A skeptic is convinced of the rabbi's holiness in this lively retelling of one of I. L. Peretz's best-loved stories. (Primary; Elementary)

Greater than Gold and Silver
by Rav Naftali Ehrmann. Illus. by Chedvah Rubin. Feldheim. A lavishly illustrated Sukkot story about the mitzvah of the etrong, written from an Orthodox point of view. (Primary; Elementary)

New Year at the Pier by April Halprin Wayland. Illus. by Stefane Jorisch. Dial Books for Young Readers. Izzy, his family, and members of their congregation gather at the pier to symbolically cast away their sins in the ceremony of tashlich. Action and emotions are captured by the lilting illustrations. (Preschool; Primary) WINNER OF A SYDNEY TAYLOR BOOK AWARD.

Sammy Spider's First Simhat Torah by Sylvia A. Rouss. Illus. by Katherine Janus Kahn. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Sammy and his human buddy, Josh, learn what the holiday is all about and Sammy takes a ride to shul on a candy apple! (Preschool; Primary)

The Secret Shofar of Barcelona
by Jacqueline Dembar Greene. Illus. by Doug Chayka. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Secret Jews find a way to blow the shofar in plain sight during a concert for the Spanish nobility. Set in Spain during the Inquisition, the story celebrates faith and courage. (Primary; Elementary)

Sukkot Treasure Hunt by Allison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern. Kar-Ben/Lerner. After building their sukkah, an Israeli child and her parents search the hills and valleys of the Gallilee for myrtle, willow, palm, and citron. Color photographs add realism to a story set in Israel. (Primary; Elementary)

Tashlich at Turtle Rock by Susan Schnur. Illus. by Alex Steele-Morgan. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Primary. A family custom - walking in the woods on Rosh Hashanah - offers an idyllic view of the ceremony of tashlich. (Primary)

Today is the Birthday of the World by Linda Heller. Dutton. A beautifully illustrated story about animals and children doing their best. Although Rosh Hashanah is never mentioned, the theme reflects the holiday's meaning. (Preschool; Primary)