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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

15 Books to Read During Jewish American Heritage Month

In 2006, President George W. Bush proclaimed May as Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM). We use this month to acknowledge the contributions Jewish Americans have made to our country. For more information regarding JAHM, visit the Library of Congress's websites here and here.

The Mississippi Library Commission is celebrating JAHM with this list of books that highlight Jewish American literature.

Oskar and the Eight Blessings
by Tanya Simon and Richard Simon
preK-2nd grade

On Christmas Eve and the seventh day of Hanukkah, a young boy arrives in New York City. Although escaping the horrors of Kristallnacht, he still finds kindness and goodness among those he meets.

My Name Is Aviva
by Lesléa Newman
illustrated by Ag Jatkowska
preK-2nd grade

Little Aviva dislikes her name so much that she decides to change it to Emily... that is, until she learns about her Jewish great-grandmother for whom she is named.

Kayla and Kugel
by Ann D. Koffsky

Kayla and her puppy Kugel set the table for Shabbat. This book explains Shabbat and its traditions and customs.

by Pam Muñoz Ryan
2nd-4th grades 

A mysterious harmonica winds its way through the lives of four special children, one of whom, Friedrich, finds himself trying to save his family from the Nazis.

Beyond Lucky
by Sarah Aronson
3rd-7th grades

Ari prepares for his Bar Mitzvah as he tries to become a soccer star and keep his team on track.

The Importance of Wings
by Robin Friedman
5th-8th grades

Israeli-American Roxanne becomes less obsessed with all things American when an Israeli girl moves into the cursed house next door. 

I'm Glad I Did 
by Cynthia Weil
7th grade and up

Jewish JJ pursues her dream of a music career while falling in love and solving a mystery.

Kissing in America 
by Margo Rabb
9th grade and up

Eva, who is Jewish loses herself in romance novels to cope with the death of her father. When she finds the guy of her dreams in real life, who then moves across the country, she and her best friend travel cross-country to find him.

by David A. Poulsen
7th-10th grades

Outsider Andy Crockett encounters Holocaust denial at school.

What to Do About the Solomons
by Bethany Ball
Adult fiction

This debut about a multigenerational family is set in Israel, New York, and Los Angeles.

The One Man
by Andrew Gross
Adult fiction

This thriller involves a heart-pounding rescue of a physicist, the one man who can win the war for the Allies, who is trapped in a Nazi concentration camp.

Modern Girls
by Jennifer S. Brown
Adult fiction

This debut, which is set in the Jewish community of New York in the 1930s, sees a mother and daughter face tough choices as Hitler begins his rise to power overseas.
The Jews of Harlem: The Rise, Decline, and Revival of a Jewish Community
by Jeffrey S. Gurock
 Adult nonfiction
This book follows the path of the burgeoning Jewish population of Harlem in the early 1900s, through their desertion of the neighborhood, and their return today.

Eat My Schwartz
by Geoff and Mitch Schwartz,
with Seth Kaufman
 Adult nonfiction

The inspirational story of offensive linemen Geoff and Mitch Schwartz and their ties to their close-knit Jewish family is told in this heartwarming book.

Rhapsody in Schmaltz: Yiddish Food and Why We Can't Stop Eating It
by Michael Wex
Adult nonfiction

Explore the path of Jewish food from the Bible through Europe to present day America.

If you are interested in more books or book clubs with Jewish content, check out the Jewish Book Council.

Happy reading!

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