Learn Yiddish With These Picture Books

 Yiddish, the language once spoken by millions of Jews across Central and Eastern Europe, is known for its “zesty and expressive” qualities, which is why many Yiddish words have found their way into English. You might find that you use some Yiddish in everyday life without even knowing it — words like kosher, chutzpah, glitch, shmutz, schmaltz, maven, and klutz. Explore the mamaloshen, "mother tongue", Yiddish, with the lively picture books and stories below: 

Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

Yetta escapes from the chicken farmer’s cage, but what is a country hen to do in big, unfamiliar Brooklyn?

Five Little Gefiltes by Dave Horowitz

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

Mama Gefilte isn’t thrilled when her curious little ones leave their jar and go out to explore the world, but she can certainly be proud of what they know about being a mensch.

Goodnight Bubbala by Sheryl Haft

Recommended for ages 2 to 5

You've read Goodnight Moon many times — and you'll probably read it many times more — but how about a Yiddish-flavored spin on the classic? This sweet book will leave your family smiling — and maybe hungry for a shmear on a bagel.

Nosh, Schlep, Schluff: BabYiddish by Laurel Snyder

Recommended for ages 6 months to 2 years

Little ones are introduced to the delightful sounds of Yiddish in this board book, while parents learn or are reminded of some commonly-used Yiddishisms.

Book Oy Feh So? by Cary Fagan

Recommended for ages 7 to 8

Aunt Chanah, Aunt Essy, and Uncle Sam are really, really predictable. No matter what you do, they always say the same things: “oy,” “feh,” and “so?”. One day their niece and nephew try to get them to say something else. The result is funny for everyone -- and a nice reminder of how special family is.

Raisins and Almonds: A Yiddish Lullaby by Susan Tarcov

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Annie wakes up to a strange noise under her bed in the middle of the night. Naturally, she asks her mother what’s happening...and the sleepy conversation that follows is the stuff of a classic Yiddish lullaby that has soothed generations of children.

The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

The Schmutzys are messy all week long, and no one seems to care a bit. When Friday rolls around, everyone helps clean up as the family prepares for Shabbat.