The Association of Jewish Libraries is pleased to announce that eight titles have been selected for its seasonal AJL Holiday Highlights list, celebrating Purim, Passover, and Tisha B’Av. These titles are AJL’s picks for the best Jewish holiday children’s books of Spring 2023.
Titles that are selected as Holiday Highlights exemplify the highest standards of authentic Jewish representation and holiday spirit in both writing and illustration. A committee of expert judges recommends these books for use by families, in schools, and in libraries. AJL hopes that the publishing world will look to the quality of these examples when creating new children’s books about Jewish holidays.
Holiday Highlights titles are named twice a year, for the spring and fall publishing seasons. Submissions are being accepted now for the Fall 2023 list. Please email email@example.com to send digital review copies or to request instructions for sending print review copies.
The committee has selected four books about the holiday of Purim, which begins on the evening of March 6 and ends on the evening of March 7, 2023:
- Duct Tape Purim by Jill Colella Bloomfield, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group (a craft book for ages 7-12)
- Lily Blue Riding Hood by Sandy Lanton, illustrated by Kim Barnes, published by Intergalactic Afikomen Publishing (a picture book for ages 4-8)
- The Book of Elsie by Joanne Levy, published by Orca Currents, an imprint of Orca Book Publishers (a middle grade novel for ages 8-12)
- The Royal Recipe by Elana Rubinstein, illustrated by Jennifer Naalchigar, published by Apples & Honey Press, an imprint of Behrman House (a chapter book for ages 5-10)
Three books were selected for the holiday of Passover, which begins on the evening of April 5 and ends on the evening of April 13, 2023:
- Afikomen by Tziporah Cohen, illustrated by Yaara Eshet, published by Groundwood Books (a picture book for ages 3-6)
- An Invitation to Passover by Kerry Olitzky and Deborah Bodin Cohen, illustrated by Mariia Kolker, published by Kalaniot Books, an imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing (a picture book for ages 4-8)
- My Family Haggadah by Shoshana Silberman, illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group (a board book for ages 1-4)
The committee was excited to encounter a rare picture book about the holiday of Tisha B’Av, which begins on the evening of July 26 and ends on the evening of July 27, 2023:
- Luis de Torres Sails to Freedom by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, illustrated by Oliver Averill, published by Kar-Ben Publishing, an imprint of Lerner Publishing Group (a picture book for ages 5-10)
An annotated list of the Spring 2023 AJL Holiday Highlights can be found HERE.
AJL’s 2023 Holiday Highlights judges are Rebecca Levitan, Librarian III at the Baltimore County Public Library – Pikesville branch in Baltimore, MD; Jennifer Rothschild, Collection Engagement Librarian at Arlington Public Library in Arlington, VA; and Danielle Winter, reference librarian at the Brooklyn Public Library in Brooklyn, NY.
The Association of Jewish Libraries, the leading authority on Judaic librarianship, is an international professional organization that fosters access to information and research in all forms of media relating to all things Jewish. The Association promotes Jewish literacy and scholarship and provides a community for peer support and professional development. For more information, visit jewishlibraries.org.