That's #MyJAHM: Books for Jewish American Heritage Month

Whatever your JAHM, er, your jam — or your age or genre preferences — here are some recent recommended books (a non-exhaustive list!) about varied Jewish experiences, in the U.S. and beyond. There’s fiction and nonfiction; there’s humor and fantasy. In some of these books, Judaism and Jewish identity are the focus; in others, they’re just one part of a larger story. Some tell stories of hardship, but there’s also plenty of Jewish joy. (Alert viewers will note that several of these books also fit the breezy, entertaining, page-turning bill for our 2023 Summer Reading List.) 

For the picture-book set, check out Afikomen, Brand-New Bubbe, The Greatest Song of All: How Isaac Stern United the World to Save Carnegie Hall, and I Hate Borsch! More serious picture books for those seeking resources about the Holocaust include Hidden Hope: How a Toy and a Hero Saved Lives During the HolocaustStars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport; and The Tower of Life: How Yaffa Eliach Rebuilt Her Town in Stories and Photographs.

For middle-grade and middle-school readers see Attack of the Black Rectangles; Black Bird, Blue Road; Camp QUILTBAG; Honey and Me; The Lost Ryū; Second Chance Summer; Where You’ve Got to Be; or The Witch of Woodland

For teens, there’s Jewish rep in Ballad & Dagger; Imogen, Obviously; It’s My Whole Life; The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen; One Last Shot: The Story of Wartime Photographer Gerda Taro; When the Angels Left the Old Country; and The Woman Who Split the Atom: The Life of Lise Meitner

And — for everyone — check out ALA’s beautiful Jewish American Heritage Month poster, which reads “Shalom” (peace). It was designed by Sean Rubin, with art based on his illustrations for 2022 Sydney Taylor Book Award winner The Passover Guest, written by Susan Kusel, winner of 2023 ALA Equality Award

JAHM. It’s not just for hamantaschen filling anymore.

Shoshana Flax

Shoshana Flax, associate editor of The Horn Book, Inc., is a former bookseller and holds an MFA in writing for children from Simmons University. She has served on the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award and Sydney Taylor Book Award committees, and is serving on the 2025 Walter Dean Myers Award committee.

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Heidi Rabinowitz

Thanks for this celebration of #JAHM and for all the excellent book recommendations! It's wonderful to have The Horn Book recognize Jewish American Heritage Month.

Posted : May 17, 2023 12:43



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