Yom Kippur (and more!) 2023

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, begins Sunday night, and this time of year, it seems there’s always a Jewish holiday either coming or going. Here are a few books to help observe, celebrate, and/or explain some of this season’s Jewish holidays. 

For Rosh Hashanah (and beyond), Richard Ho’s Two New Years (Chronicle), illustrated by Lynn Scurfield, compares a family’s celebrations of the Jewish New Year and of Lunar New Year. Megan Hoyt’s Tzimmes for Tzipporah (Apples & Honey/Berhman), illustrated by Christine Battuz, is about a girl who helps with the tzimmes for her family’s holiday dinner, from start (harvesting the sweet root vegetables) to finish (eating!) 

See Big Bad Wolf’s Yom Kippur (Apples & Honey/Berhman), by David Sherrin, illustrated by Martín Morón, for a fairy tale character’s seasonally apt personal growth. And for intermediate and middle-school readers, keep an eye out in November for Mari Lowe’s The Dubious Pranks of Shaindy Goodman (Levine Querido) — Yom Kippur ties in closely with its themes of atonement. For grownups, we're not sorry to re-recommend Friend of the Horn Book Marjorie Ingall's book about apologies, renamed (in paperback; Jan 2024) Getting to Sorry: The Art of Apology at Work and at Home

For Sukkot, which this year begins the night of September 29, Leah Rachel Berkowitz’s The Moving-Box Sukkah (Apples & Honey/Berhman), illustrated by Sharon Vargo, gives inspiration for improvising a sukkah under any circumstances. And in Kayla and Kugel’s Silly Sukkot (Apples & Honey/Berhman) by Ann D. Koffsky, the titular girl and dog return to build a more traditional version of the holiday’s temporary huts, with some antics along the way. 

…And then come Shemini Atzeret and Simchat Torah…and then come lots of other holidays. For a look at Jewish holidays throughout the year, check out Beth Kander’s Do Not Eat This Book!: Fun with Jewish Foods & Festivals (Sleeping Bear), illustrated by Mike Moran; and Beni’s Tiny Tales: Around the Year in Jewish Holidays (Ottaviano/Little, Brown) by Jane Breskin Zalben. 

Shana tovah! 

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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