Children's Books to Help Observe Tisha B’Av


Not all Jewish holidays are joyous. Some are somber and can be a challenge for parents to discuss with children. Such is the case with Tisha B’Av and the Three Weeks.

What Is Tisha B’av?

Tisha B’Av occurs on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av. It usually falls between mid-July and mid-August. It is a holiday of sadness and mourning that commemorates the destruction of First and Second Temples in Jerusalem in 586 BCE and 70 CE, respectively.

More about Tisha B’Av on »

Solomon’s Temple

The Holy Temple was a magnificent temple, built by King Solomon in Jerusalem over 3,000 years ago. King Solomon, also known as Shlomo, was one of the wisest leaders of Israel in ancient times. Known in Hebrew as the Beit HaMikdash, this Temple was the center and magnetic core of Jewish life at that time.

The Temple was destroyed in the year 70 CE by the Romans, constituting one of the most monumental events in Jewish history. Since this time, Jews have commemorated the Destruction of the Temple with a day of mourning and fasting.

Teaching Kids About Ancient Israel

The mature themes of Tisha B’Av can present a challenge for parents looking for age-appropriate lessons for children. For early readers, a good starting point in learning about Tisha B’Av and the Three Weeks might be ancient Israel.

There are a number of PJ Library books that can help paint a picture in children’s minds about what life was like during ancient times, prior to the destruction of the temple. Below is a list of PJ Library books that reflect the era of Solomon and showcase what society was like around the time the first Temple was built.

Read these books aloud, together as a family, to inspire curiosity and discussion:

Books About Ancient Israel

Lenny and Benny 
by Naama Benziman

Lenny and Benny used to be friends -- but they have had a fight, and they're both dealing with some big feelings. It's okay to feel angry or hurt, but we still need to make good choices about how we respond to others. A friendship like Lenny and Benny's is worth working for...isn't it?

And Shira Imagined 
by Giora Carmi

The history of the ancient land comes to life when a young girl and her family tour Israel.

Jerusalem of Gold 
by Howard Schwartz

In this book of Jerusalem, stories from various Jewish sources are explored. Settings include the Middle East, Spain, Italy, Greece, and Eastern Europe.

Shimri's Big Idea 
by Elka Weber

Shimri's just a little kid living in ancient Jerusalem -- but he's got big ideas, and some of them could change the city and make life easier for everyone. If only he could get someone important to listen to him...

Stories About King Solomon

The People Vs The Wind

A modern folk tale inspired by a story from King Solomon's court.

King Solomon and the Bee 
by Dalia Hardof Renberg

In this sweet retelling of a traditional Jewish tale, a lowly bee unexpectedly repays the kindness of a king by helping him solve a queen’s difficult riddle.

Solomon and the Trees 
by Matt Biers-Ariel

According to this midrash, when Solomon was young he used to spend his days in the forest with his dear animal friends. Once he became king, however, he forgot how important it was to take care of the earth. In this story, he is reminded to take careof the world around him.