The Book of Life Returns! with "Social Justice and Jewish Children's Books"


    🕮    The podcast hiatus is over! I'm thrilled to return to my beloved Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel in Boca Raton, Florida, and to The Book of Life podcast!

On Monday June 18, 2018 at the 53rd annual conference of the Association of Jewish Libraries in Boston, MA, I participated in a panel discussion of "Social Justice and Jewish Children's Books." Other panelists included author Lesléa Newman, and Horn Book editors Shoshana Flax and moderator Elissa Gershowitz.
As mentioned on the podcast, this post offers some titles in the various categories of books that I spoke about during the panel. These lists are by no means comprehensive. They mostly represent titles in the Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel of Boca Raton, Florida, and the list was compiled by memory without actually visiting the library. My purpose is to offer a few suggestions to get you started on thinking about books in these categories.


We Are All Alike...We Are All Different by The Cheltenham Elementary School Kindergartners
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
All the Colors of the Earth by Sheila Hamanaka
Skin Again by Bell Hooks
Two Eyes, a Nose, and a Mouth by Roberta Grobel Intrater
We're Different, We're the Same by Bobbi Kates
The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
All the Colors We Are/Todos los Colores de Nuestra Piel by Katie Kissinger
The Belly Book, and Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin
We All Sing with the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller
It's Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr
A Rainbow All Around Me by Sandra Pinkney
One Light, One Sun by Raffi
Shades of People by Shelley Rotner
One Family by George Shannon
All Kinds of Children by Norma Simon
Brown Sugar Babies; I Am America by Charles R. Smith
The Skin You Live In by Michael Tyler


A Kiss Means I Love You by Kathryn Madeline Allen
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett
Busy Toes by CW Bowie
My Aunt Came Back by Pat Cummings
Love; Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell
Shape Space by Cathryn Falwell
10 Little Fingers and 10 Little Toes by Mem Fox
Everywhere Babies by Marla Frazee
Uh Oh!; Peekaboo Morning By Rachel Isadora
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Daddy, Papa and Me; Mommy, Mama and Me by Leslea Newman
Octopus Hug by Laurence Pringle
Jonathan and His Mommy;Kevin and His Dad by Irene Smalls
Jane Yolen’s How Do Dinosaurs books (interestingly, the Chanukah one is all white humans)

EXPLICITLY DIVERSE BOOKS (Celebrating specific cultures)

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema
Cleversticks by Bernard Ashley
So Much by Trish Cooke
Peek! A Thai Hide and Seek by Minfong Ho
How Sweet the Sound: African American Songs for Chlidren by Cheryl & Wade Hudson
Shades of Black: A Celebraton of Our Children by Sandra Pinkney
Round is a Mooncake: A Book of Shapes by Roseanne Thong
Yoko by Rosemary Wells


Please see the bibliography I posted in June 2017 on this topic.

Diverse Jewish Kidlit


Please see the notes and bibliography from my 2002 AJL presentation "Is the Rainbow Fish Jewish?" While in need of updating, this booklist is still valid.

Is the Rainbow Fish Jewish?


The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate by Janice Cohn
Bagels from Benny by Aubrey Davis
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards
The Whispering Town by Jennifer Elvgren
Hannah's Way; On One Foot by Linda Glaser
The Legend of Freedom Hill by Linda Altman Jacobs
Even Higher by Eric Kimmel
In God’s Hands by Laurence Kushner
Mayer Aaron Levi and His Lemon Tree by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Pearl Moscowitz’s Last Stand by Arthur Levine
The Mitten String by Jennifer Rosner
Gathering Sparks by Howard Schwartz
The Two Brothers: a Legend of Jerusalem by Neil Waldman
Let there Be Light: Poems and Prayers for Repairing the World by Jane Breskin Zalben


Emma’s Poem, The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
The Spy Who Played Baseball by Carrie Jones
Goldie Takes a Stand by Barbara Krasner
I Dissent by Debbie Levy
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers Factory Strike of 1909 by Michelle Markel
As Good As Anybody by Rich Michelson
A Poem for Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney
Liberty’s Voice by Erica Silverman
Ruth Bader Ginsburgh, TBG vs Inequality by Jonah Winter

(to replace false narratives about Pilgrims and Indians)

Grateful by John Bucchino
Bear Says Thank You by Michael Dahl
Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena
My Amazing Day: A Celebration of Wonder and Gratitude by Karin Fisher-Golton
Day by Day by Susan Gal
Thanks a Million by Nikki Grimes
Life Is Good by Bert Jacobs
Sidewalk Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson
Every Little Thing by Bob Marley
Hug Time; Thank You and Good Night; Wag by Patrick McDonnell
Thank You, World by Alice B. McGinty
Sharing the Bread: An Old Fashioned Thanksgiving Story by Pat Zietlow Miller
The Thankful Book by Todd Parr
Wait by Antoinette Portis
Thankfulness by Cynthia Roberts
Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss
My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith
The Kindness Quilt by Elizabeth Nancy Wallace
Thank You, God by J. Bradley Wigger
The Thank You Book by Mo Willems
Bear Says Thanks by Karma Wilson
The Secret of Saying Thanks by Douglas Wood


Guidelines from the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation



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I'd appreciate your adding BEFORE I SLEEP:I SAY THANK YOU by me, Carol Gordon Ekster, to the gratitude/Thanksgiving list above. It encourages a bedtime routine of saying five things you're grateful for. The idea actually came from the Shema prayer but did not get accepted by Jewish publishers and did get bought by a Catholic publisher, Pauline Books and Media! And thanks for this important post.
Unknown said…
Welcome back!Interesting podcast. Thank you.