Books for Interfaith Families

Are you looking for a book featuring a family just like yours? The books in this list feature interfaith families, friendships, diverse families, and cross-cultural connections.

Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup by Pamela Mayer

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Sophie has two Grandmas from two different cultures, and they each make their own kind of chicken soup -- and each soup is delicious! The more Sophie learns about those soups, the more she realizes how similar they actually are -- on many levels.

 


Nonna’s Hanukkah Surprise by Karen Fisman

Recommended for ages 6 to 8

Rachel’s Italian grandma, Nonna, doesn’t celebrate Hanukkah, so Rachel plans to bring Hanukkah to her house. When her plans go awry, Nonna makes it all okay.


Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

Instead of latkes, this family celebrates Hanukkah with tasty Indian dosas. To her brother's chagrin, little Sadie won't stop climbing on everything both at home and at the Indian grocery store, even while preparing the dosas. As the family puts the finishing touches on their holiday preparations, they accidentally get locked out of the house. Sadie and her climbing skills just may be exactly what is needed to save the day.


What a Way to Start the New Year by Jacqueline Jules

Recommended for ages 6 to 8

Poor Dina. She and her family have moved to a new town where they don’t know anyone -- and the car broke down, so they can’t go back to their old neighborhood to celebrate Rosh Hashanah. Dina is sure this New Year will be no fun at all...but then something surprising happens.


Books About Cross-Cultural Friendships

Across the Alley by Richard Michelson

Recommended for ages 7 to 8

Abe and Willie are secret best friends until Abe's grandfather catches them--will they have the courage to bring their special friendship out in the open?


Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Everyone in Goldie Simcha’s apartment building knows it’s Friday night when they smell her delicious Shabbat cholent. But one Friday night, Goldie doesn’t feel well enough to cook. Her neighbors step up to create a very special Shabbat potluck for the entire building to enjoy together.


Shanghai Sukkah by Heidi Smith Hyde

Recommended for ages 6 and up

When Marcus’s family moves from Europe to China in the 1930s, he doesn’t know any Jewish families like his. But when he makes a new friend, he’s able to build an unusual sukkah just in time for Sukkot.


Snow in Jerusalem by Deborah da Costa

Recommended for ages 8 and up

Two boys living in Jerusalem--one Muslim, the other Jewish--are surprised to discover they’ve been looking after the same stray cat.


Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom and Salaam
by Fawzia Gilani-Williams

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Yaffa and Fatima are dear friends, despite coming from different backgrounds. When times get tough, how will they look after each other? This rendition of a classic Jewish folktale is an inspiring look at how friendship perseveres.


Books Featuring Diverse Families

Antlers With Candles by Chris Barash

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

Everything looks new when seen from a child’s perspective, including menorahs, dreidels, and latkes. But family togetherness is something everyone understands.


Fridays Are Special by Chris Barash

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

Follow along with a little boy as he celebrates Shabbat with his large, diverse, family.


Rebecca’s Journey Home by Pamela Ehrenberg

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

The Stein family welcomes a new family member--an adopted baby girl.


PJ Our Way Books

The following middle-grade books feature interfaith families, friendships, and young people exploring and coming to terms with their own Jewish identity. To learn more about PJ Our Way, our program for 9-11 year olds, please visit pjourway.org.

 

Confessions of a Closet Catholic by Sarah Darer Littman

Recommended for ages 10 and up

Eleven-year-old Justine Silver is experiencing a serious identity crisis. Originally from New Rochelle, NY, Justine’s world felt very Jewish; her best friend, Shira Weinstein, was observant, and her family lived near the synagogue, even if they didn’t attend very often. Now that they’ve moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, Justine’s become more curious about the religions of the world and since her new best friend, Mac McAllister, has given up chocolate for Lent, Justine’s decided to get into the spirit and give up being Jewish for Lent, as well. But when her beloved Bubbe becomes seriously ill (after Justine visits a church), she feels somehow responsible and even guilty for not honoring her grandmother’s Holocaust experience by exploring other faiths. Justine’s voice is irreverent and hilarious as she finds guidance in a number of unlikely places in this Sydney Taylor award winning book.

 


My Guardian Angel by Sylvie Weil

Recommended for ages 10 and up

Elvina, twelve-year-old granddaughter of Rashi (Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes, France, the famous Bible commentator), loves to write and read – rare interests for a girl in 11th century France. She is helping to hide a young, injured Crusader soldier who would rather be a scholar than a fighter. This could potentially be catastrophic for the Jewish community which is living under the shadow of the Crusader leader, Peter the Hermit, a fearful man with a reputation of violence.


The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Recommended for ages 9 to 11

When her beloved grandmother, Nana, dies and leaves her a Star of David necklace, Caroline becomes curious about her Jewish identity. She thinks she might want a Bat Mitzvah like her best friend Rachel, but what is a Bat Mitzvah anyway, and what will her non-Jewish dad think?


The Whole Story of Half A Girl by Veera Hiranandani

Recommended for ages 10 and up

Sixth grader, Sonia Nadhamuni, is half-Jewish and half-South Asian. When her father loses his job, she is forced to switch from a private, alternative school that she loves, to the local public school. Sonia struggles to understand herself and her Jewish identity, particularly in her relationships with Alisha (an African American aspiring writer) and Kate (a popular cheerleader).