Whether you celebrate Jewish holidays or simply want to learn more about the different high holidays, these picture books are wonderful choices to read for the high holidays of Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. (Also, I’ve included books about Shabbat, too.)
Children’s Books About the Jewish Holidays
Awe-Some Days: Poems about the Jewish High Holidays by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Singer celebrates the Jewish holidays throughout the year with poems for each including weekly Shabbat. Starting with apples dipped in honey for Rosh Hashanah and continuing with Yom Kipper with more seriousness and prayer, Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, Simchat Torah, Hanukkah, and many more high holidays. Informational sidebars share the meaning and background of each holiday.
Do Not Eat This Book! Fun with Jewish Foods & Festivals written by Beth Kander, illustrated by Mike Moran
With a jaunty rhyme, you’ll read about the yummy foods for different Jewish holidays. On Purim, there’s a special cookie that might make you hungry. But, as the narrator keeps reminding us, DO NOT EAT THIS BOOK! Extensive back matter shares more about each holiday and directions for making some of the foods like Rainbow Latkes and a Charcuter-Tree with fruits and veggies. Delightful illustrations.
Books for Rosh Hashana
Rosh Hashana is the Jewish New Year, the head of the year. The exact date varies from year to year because it’s based on the Hebrew Calendar in the fall month of Tishrei.
Rosh Hashanah Is Coming! by Tracy Newman, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
This sweet story shows children getting ready to celebrate. “Rosh Hashanah is coming,” repeats on every page as they continue to prepare.
Not So Fast, Max A Rosh Hashanah Visit with Grandma by Annette Schottenfeld, illustrated by Jennifer Kirkham
In this heartwarming story, Max and his sister Emily go apple picking with their Savta (grandma) to get apples for a special caramel apple treat. Max is impatient and grumpy but Savta uses the time to teach him about Rosh Hashannah and her own childhood traditions, turning his grumpiness into a fun and happy time. The back of the book gives directions for Savta’s Apple Cake and Max’s Caramel Apples.
Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Bodin Cohen, illustrated by Shahar Kober
Engineer Ari brags and forgets to say goodbye to the other engineers and as he wishes everyone a Happy New Year, he realizes that he’s hurt his friends and apologizes for his mistakes.
Measuring a Year A Rosh Hashana Story by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Zara Gonzalez Hoang
For the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashana, read these reflective questions to ponder how to measure a year of time — is it what you learned or how much you grew?
Two New Years written by Richard Ho, illustrated by Lynn Scurfield
Simple first-person narration explains that the child celebrates two New Years — one for their Chinese heritage, Lunar New Year in the spring, and the other for their Jewish faith, Rosh Hashanah, in the fall. Both celebrations are filled with family and food, traditions and good wishes. Bright, colorful illustrations dance across the pages in celebration.
Books for Sukkot
Sukkot is a harvest holiday for seven days in September or October. Many families build huts with three sides and a leafy room in their backyards for enjoying their meals outside. It is a time to remember when the Jews wandered in the desert for forty years.
Is It Sukkot Yet? by Chris Barash, illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
Fall is here with pumpkins, gourds, and colorful leaves, which means that Sukkot is on its way, too. Sukkot is the high holiday thatcelebrates the fall harvest and remembers when the children of Israel spent 40 years wandering in the desert.
Sukkot Is Coming! by Tracy Newman, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
Learn about the traditions of the fall holiday of Sukkot in this simple book that repeats the refrain, “Sukkot is coming!”
The Very Crowded Sukkah by Leslie Kimmelman
Everyone in the family is busy getting sukkah ready but when a storm comes, who will the hut shelter? The neighborhood animals!
Books for Yom Kippur
The Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur is also called The Day of Atonement. It’s a time when the adults and kids over age thirteen will fast, pray and ask for forgiveness.
The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn
Gorgeous, fantastical illustrations show a gigantic, colorful bird called the Ziz. Since he blocked out the sun for the children’s play, he started to fly at night instead of the day — but he bumped into a star which fell to the earth and made a large hole. He continues accidentally bumping into things and causing problems. God tells the Ziz to search for the hardest word which he doesn’t find — until he tells God that he’s sorry for failing in the task. It turns out that the word sorry is the hardest word but it’s 100% appropriate for the Day of Atonement.
Talia and the Very YUM Kippur by Linda Elovitz Marshall, illustrated by Francesca Assirelli
Grandma asks Talia to help her prepare a Yum Kippur breakfast kugel, but first, Talia needs to collect the eggs, milk the cow, boil noodles, and gather all the other ingredients. The next day, Talia apologizes to her grandmother for breaking something. The family fasts during the day and at night, enjoys the dishes that Talia and Grandma had prepared the previous day.
Books for Shabbat
Shabbat isn’t a Jewish high holiday, but I wanted to include it in this roundup of books none the less. Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest on the seventh day of each week.
Shabbat Is Coming by Tracy Newman, illustrated by Viviana Garofoli
Friday is here, and at sundown, Shabbat begins. This book focuses on the preparations for Shabbat with candles, cooking, and cleaning.
Soosie The Horse that Saved Shabbat by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, illustrated by Menahem Halberstadt
You’ll love this sweet story of a horse that delivers the challah bread when the delivery boy is sick. Jacob drives all over town with Soosie the cart horse delivering challah bread for Shabat. But when Jacob arrives at the bakery for his deliveries too sick to work, Esther and Jacob know just what to do — send Soosie with the bread and a note. Will it work? Yes! People pay for their bread into Soosie’s tin and she makes it back home safely.
Shabbat Shalom! by Douglas Florian, illustrated by Hannah Tolson
Rhyming text shows a family’s Shabbat traditions including lighting candles, praying, and sharing a meal together. It’s a simple glimpse into this weekly Jewish celebration.