Books can make the High Holidays even more special


Children’s memories of the fall holidays are of gatherings with family and friends, shared meals and stories. They remember the stories from family, from teachers and from books and enjoy hearing them at every holiday. Some books hold special memories for another generation. The Carp in the Bathtub by Barbara Cohen will more likely bring back memories for grandparents than their children or grandchildren. After all, today most people buy their gefilte fish in the supermarket in jars, cans or frozen.

Other books have been around for a long time and seem to delight each new generation like The Adventures of K’tonton by Sadie Rose Weilerstein. The character of K’tonton was introduced more than 50 years ago. He was born to a woman who prayed on Sukkot for a child. She promised to love any child even ‘no bigger than a thumb.’ Younger children still enjoy reading and hearing the stories of K’tonton as he gets into a fair amount of complicated situations due to his small size. Many of the stories take place around the Jewish holidays or with Jewish themes.

Here are some old favorites and newer books for children celebrating the fall holidays. You will find most of these books at the Saul Brodsky Jewish Community Library.

‘Avram’s Gift’ by Margie Blumberg

Mark really doesn’t like the looks of the man in the picture. Unfortunately it is his great-great-grandfather Avram. Mark learns some important lessons when his grandfather Morris comes for Rosh Hashanah and shares his stories about Avram.

‘Bubbe Isabella and the Sukkot Cake’ by Kelly Terwilliger

Bubbe Isabella shares her sukkah with many unique guests.

‘Days of Awe’ by Eric Kimmel

This book is a collection of three stories to illustrate the themes of tzedakah (charity), t’shuvah (repentance) and tefilah (prayer).

‘The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story’ by Jennifer Jules

The Ziz is a rather large and klutzy bird. He learns the importance of apologizing in this story.

‘Hillel Builds A House’ by Shoshana Lepon

Hillel loves building houses from tree houses, to a house under his stars to building a house he wears as a costume for Purim. The holiday of Sukkot offers him the perfect reason to build a house.

‘Magic of Kol Nidre’ by Bruce Siegel

The Kol Nidre, the opening prayer for Yom Kippur is chanted three times. This book offers a look at different possible explanations from the perspective of the narrator at three different times in his life.

‘Night Lights’ by Barbara Diamond Goldin

Part of the fun of Sukkot is eating and sleeping in the sukkah. However, Daniel discovers there isn’t any place to plug in a night light. His sister Naomi discovers a way to feel safe and remember their ancestors who celebrated the holiday before them.

‘On Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur’ by Cathy Goldberg Fishman

A young girl can tell it is time for the holidays because of all the things she is doing with her family. A glossary at the back of the book is helpful with pronunciations of common terms and their meanings.

‘When the Chickens Went on Strike’ by Erica Silverman

This delightful book for Rosh Hashanah is adapted from a story by Sholom Aleichem dealing with the custom of Kapores. The custom involves waving a clucking chicken above your head and saying a prayer to chase away bad luck and behaviors from the year before and inviting good luck for the year ahead. One small village has a problem performing the ritual when the chickens refuse to cooperate.

‘The White Ram: A Story of Abraham and Isaac’ by Mordecai Gerstein

The author focuses on the role of the ram and the ram’s horn in the story of Abraham and Isaac and the connection with the High Holy Days.

‘The World’s Birthday’ by Barbara Diamond Goldin

Daniel loves everything about the holiday of Rosh Hashanah. He decides to hold a birthday party for the world in honor of the holiday.

‘A Yom Kippur Think’ by Miriam Feinberg

Hannah joins the other young children in the babysitting room during services for Yom Kippur. Her father explained the meaning of Yom Kippur as a day to pray and think. So Hannah tries to think and remember the times she was good, the times she was bad and the times she was caring.