The Latest in Jewish Children’s Books


It’s almost Chanukah! What better gifts to get for your kids than these adorable new offerings from frum writers and publishers? It’s impossible to showcase all the new books out there, but here’s a sampling for kids of all ages.

The Courage Club  :Written by Bracha Goetz , Illustrated by Devora Younger,  Published by the Jewish Children’s Book Club

Reviewed by C.B. Lieber

Baltimore’s homegrown superstar Bracha Goetz has done it again with this adorable book about Daniel and his friends standing up to King Nebuchadnezzar. Not only is the story told as a school play but the illustrations show the boys in the class dressed in costume, acting out the scenes on a stage, complete with an audience on the front cover. Bracha Goetz tells the tale perfectly in rhyme, and Devora Younger’s illustrations bring the entire story-within-a-story to life. The book ends with a call to all kids to join the “Courage Club,” and even includes a blank certificate of achievement that can be filled in by parents.

This is a terrific read-aloud book for kids, especially boys, with the story from Tanach coming alive and relevant to today’s kids. The only drawback is that the book isn’t available in local bookstores and can only be purchased on Amazon, the Jewish Children’s Book Club website, or through schools that order books from the JCBC. Contact the author at for more details.


I Daven Every Day

Written by Naomi Shulman

Illustrated by DC Art

Published by Judaica Press

Reviewed by C.B. Lieber

I really enjoyed this delicious book for preschoolers as two children, a girl and a boy, demonstrate how they start their day by davening. Told in rhyme, the author shares how the children wash negel vasser, get dressed, and then earnestly begin their tefilos, davening for things like getting stickers on a chart and learning to ride a new bike, as well as bigger concepts like no more war and sick people getting well.

I love how this book makes davening a regular part of life. Its vivid illustrations and simple language make it a perfect read-aloud book for parents, grandparents, and teachers.


Toba’s Passage

Written by Libby Herz

Illustrated by Dena Ackerman

Published by Hachai

Reviewed by C.B. Lieber

Young readers will enjoy Toba’s adventures as she travels to America with her Aunt Fronya and her younger brother Velvel. The two children are eager to join their father, whom they haven’t seen in three years. Leaving Mama and their little sister behind is wrenching, but Toba is a cheerful girl who doesn’t dwell on sad things for long. But then she loses the siddur her beloved Zeidy gave her before they left. She’s devastated – and determined to find it again.

If your kids enjoy historical fiction, this book is for them! Part of Hachai’s Fun-to-Read series, Toba’s world comes alive as the author describes her village, the ship passage, and their arrival in New York in 1905. The mystery of the lost siddur turns this exciting book into a real page-turner.


Mister Lister

Written by Judith Pransky

Illustrated by Sarah Zee

Published by Menucha Publishers

Reviewed by C.B. Lieber

Reuven has a lot to remember: not to hug people too hard, not to splash milk on the table, not to shout too loudly, and not to tug people’s shirts. It’s no wonder his mother calls him “Mister Lister.” He makes lists to remind himself of all these things that come naturally to everyone else.

When he enters third grade in a new school, Reuven struggles to make friends. But his teacher, Rabbi Goodman, is kind and patient, and helps Reuven achieve success. This is a fabulous book that will teach second to fourth graders sensitivity and awareness of other kids and their challenges. Reuven’s untucked shirt and dangling shoelaces in the illustrations make him all the more endearing. Mister Lister is a must-have for every frum home.


When I Am a Mommy

Written by Dishy Schiffman

Illustrated by Rivka Engel

Published by Israel Bookshop

Reviewed by Sarah Rivkah Kohn

Any time Kayla’s Mommy tells her to take a bath/go to school/eat dinner or any other “unreasonable” thing, she launches into “When I am a Mommy...”

To which her mother (my new mentor!) responds, “Wow. Your kids will be so lucky.”

And Kayla smugly says, “I know.”

Uhhhhh, lucky?

The conversation continues: “Yes, your kids will never have to take a bath or brush their teeth. They will also have dirty skin and rotten teeth and smell so yucky their friends won’t want to go near them. But they will be so lucky.”

Of course, the story ends with a feel-good vibe as Kayla finally realizes how wise her mother is and tells her mother that “When I am a mommy...I am going to be just like you.”

In addition to the brilliance of the dialogue, the simplicity of the book makes it a winner. Simple language. Age-appropriate illustrations. No shtick.


Sara the Bucket Filler

Written by Rivka Fishman

Illustrated by Miriam Sin-Shalom

Published by Mosaica Press

Reviewed by Sarah Rivkah Kohn

The title of this book doesn’t in any way indicate what this book is about, but the third page made my heart go to my stomach as a bully, Dina, begins to put down our main character, Sara. “Big deal, who cares?” she says as Sara talks to her class during show-and-tell.

Morah does the let’s-be-kind-to-each-other speech, but “Sara didn’t want to talk anymore. She just shook her head.”

As a mother, I know this story all too well, and I almost couldn’t go further. Before I continued reading, I went onto the author’s website and was gratified to see she’d been using Dr. Izzy Kalman’s bully-proofing ideas as some of her core ideas.

I went back to the book, where Dina keeps bullying Sara. Then Morah Ilana sits with Sara and explains the “bucket concept.” “The bucket [inside us] holds all the good feelings we have about ourselves, about others and about the world….”

Full buckets generate good feelings.

Empty ones...well, who hasn’t felt depleted like that?

Sara, of course, asks questions about the concept, and Morah Ilana answers them. (Don’t even think I’m giving you the answers! Go get the book and read what Morah Ilana has to say. She’s spot on!)

It’s brilliant. It’s empowering. And it works – I’ve tried it.

The book concludes with a quiz to know if you’re a “bucket filler.”

This book is fully illustrated, but since it does have lots of words on each page and the concepts do take some maturity, I think it’s best for kids age six and up, or even older.

Share this book with your kids. Let’s build bucket fillers!


For more reviews of children’s books, see Sarah Rivkah Kohn’s website, Views and Reviews,

comments powered by Disqus