A New Educational Video Series from PJ Library

Watch the entire series on the PJ Library YouTube channel.

PJ Library is excited to announce a new video learning video series that explores ideas, themes, and values from some of your favorite PJ Library titles. In Beyond the Books, kids ask questions and get to virtually tour workshops, farms, restaurants, and other places, meeting the people and places who make things that kids care about.

Visit the PJ Library book warehouse, bake bagels, explore an apiary (that’s where bees live), eat falafel, and learn to build instruments from recycled objects in this fun and short video series. Each video is inspired by a PJ Library book (or two) and also has activity ideas that go along with it. Use the buttons below to learn more.

Visit the Warehouse

How does PJ Library send books to so many kids every month?

Enjoy this behind-the-scenes peak at our busy bustling warehouse and watch as a new shipment of books goes out.

Activity Idea

Write letters to friends and mail them at the post office.

Bake Bagels

Did you know that you can make delicious, chewy, salty bagels right at home?

Just like books, bagels are even better when they’re shared. Kama shares her bagel recipe and demonstrates how easy it is to make delicious bagels at home in this episode of “Beyond the Books.” Check out more easy baking recipes to try with kids.

Inspired by These Books

Bagels from Benny
The Bagel King

Activity Idea

Try baking your own bagels. While the ingredients are straightforward, as Kama showed us, the process is a bit more complicated than simply mixing and baking; the result, however, is worth the work. Keep some of your home-baked bagels for your own use, but donate a portion of the bagels to a soup kitchen or homeless shelter, or give some to a new neighbor. Such a seemingly small act of kindness can bring a feeling of belonging and happiness to others. Kosher.com has a great family bagel recipe to get you started.

Don’t feel like baking? Get a dozen bagels from your local baker or grocery store and pack breakfasts or lunch bags for a local shelter. Check in first about best days to donate and any special instructions for preparing meals.

Protect Bees

Farmer Dan shows us all around the apiary and teaches us how to be a friend to bees.

For a tiny animal, bees make a giant contribution to Jewish traditions. They make the honey for Rosh Hashanah, pollinate flowers for the Shabbat table, and are essential for certain crops. Talk about busy bees! When people take care of bees, they’re practicing tz'ar ba'alei chayim, or kindness to animals.

Related: Six Ways to Show Kindness to Animals

Inspired by These Books

What's the Buzz
King Solomon and the Bee

Activity Idea

Plant some bee-friendly flowers, herbs, or clover. If you’ve got a yard, add some plants native to your community for the bees to enjoy. If you live in an apartment, you can plant a windowsill garden with herbs and clover for your local bees.

Eat Falafel

Lawrence shows us around his family’s restaurant

Falafel is fried and deliciously crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside, and the star of this particular “Beyond the Books” video. Lawrence loves falafel, and he shows us around his family’s falafel and hummus restaurant, where they serve 300-400 falafel every day! How many falafel could you eat?

Inspired by These Books

3 Falafels in My Pita
Ella's Trip to Israel

Activity Idea

Make a falafel sandwich! You can bake or fry falafel at home using a boxed mix, frozen patties from your grocery store, or a simple recipe. Wrap your falafel inside of a pita and add your favorite toppings. Try lettuce, tomato, pickles, and hummus or tahini to start. How do you like to eat your falafel?

Build Instruments

Ken Stewart turns other peoples’ trash into treasures—making beautiful instruments for his friends and family

Like the main character in Shani’s Shoebox, artist Ken Stewart loves giving new life to objects other people might throw away. He makes guitars, speakers, and all sorts of interesting things out of everyday items. To learn more and see how he embraces the value of bal taschit, not wasting needlessly, PJ Library visited Ken at his workshop.

Inspired by These Books

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
Shani's Shoebox
Something from Nothing

Activity Idea

Make your own instrument out of a paper towel roll and an old tissue box. Follow the instructions below to create a tamburitza, a special long-necked guitar used in traditional Ladino music.

Homemade Instrument

You’ll need

  • Small shoebox for the bottom
  • Cardboard tube
  • 5-7 large rubber bands
  • Scissors
  • Masking or duct tape
  • Markers, stickers, or ribbons for decorating

Here’s how to put it together

  1. Cut a hole in one end of the box, just large enough to fi t the cardboard tube.
  2. Wrap the rubber bands around the sides of the shoe box, spacing evenly between the bands.
  3. Tape the tube onto the end of the box.
  4. Decorate as you wish, then start strumming!


Find PJ Library on YouTube
Shaboom! videos and activitiess