10 Books to Read On Tu B’Av

Every summer, just as families wrap up their holidays and kids prepare to go back to school, a minor holiday, called Tu B’Av takes place. And Tu B’AV is a pretty fantastic holiday to observe with kids, because it’s all about love.

While some people explain Tu B’Av as “Jewish Valentine’s Day,” the holiday goes a bit deeper, with an especial focus on family and on the very action-oriented approach to love and spreading love to one’s family, friends, and community.

The books in the list below showcase love for friends, love for family, especially parents and grandparents, and love for neighbors and community. Each section also features a question or two that you can use to talk over the books with your kids.
 

Books About Love of Friends

Related: 20 Beautiful Books About Friendship

Discussion Questions:

One way to show love, or honor, someone we care about is to talk nicely to that person, listen to what they say, and help them as much as we can. How do help your friends?

Are We Still Friends

Are We Still Friends by Ruth Horowitz

Recommended for ages 4 to 5

Beatrice and Abel are the finest of friends -- until a misunderstanding gets in the way. How will they reconcile in time for a fresh start in the new year? Every young child (and many grownups!) will relate to this dilemma.


The Lion and the Bird

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

When wounded Bird finds himself in Lion’s garden, kindness and empathy leads the way toward a beautiful relationship. But eventually Bird needs to rejoin his flock, and Lion is now lonely. This sweet story shows how friendship endures and changes us for the better.


Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too)

Sam and Charlie (and Sam Too) by Leslie Kimmelman

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

New neighbors have moved in next door to Sam -- two girls named Charlie and Sam (too!). As the three of them become friends, they share jokes, Jewish holidays, and even misunderstandings -- and soon learn what it means to “love your neighbor as yourself.”


Books About Love of Family

Related: 15 Special Books to Read With Grandparents

Discussion Questions:

How do the grown-ups in this book show their love to the children in their family?

How do the children in this show love to their parents and grandparents?

The Bagel King

The Bagel King by Andrew Larsen

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Every Sunday, Eli’s zaida picks up bagels at Merv’s Bakery for his friends. But when Zaida hurts his tuches, he can’t make the trip to Merv’s. Will he and his friends still have Sunday bagels?


Lights Out Shabbat!

Lights Out Shabbat! by Sarene Shulimson

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

A young boy visiting his grandparents for Shabbat has a wonderful time despite (or maybe, in part, because of) a rare Georgia snowstorm that causes the power to go out.


A Kiss on the Keppie

A Kiss on the Keppie by Leslea Newman

Recommended for ages 6 months to 2

A little boy is kissed on the head by loving parents and grandparents as he makes his way through a happy day in the life of a toddler. Often a sweet little pup named Dreidel watches as the day progresses.


The Schmutzy Family

The Schmutzy Family by Madelyn Rosenberg

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

The Schmutzys are messy all week long, and no one -- not even Mom! -- seems to care a bit. When Friday rolls around, everyone helps clean up as the family prepares for Shabbat.


Books About Love of Others

Related: 7 Jewish Children’s Books That Teach Kids About Being a Good Neighbor

Discussion Questions:

What is something you can do to show love to your neighbors? How about your community?

Bagels From Benny

Bagels From Benny by Aubrey Davis

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

While working in his grandfather’s bakery, Benny learns the joys of giving and receiving, caring and gratitude.


A Hat for Mrs. Goldman

A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Mrs. Goldman is always knitting for everyone else in the neighborhood, and young Sophie helps her out by making pom-poms. But one day Sophie decides she wants to go beyond pom-poms and knit something for Mrs. Goldman, too. Who knew knitting could be so tricky? But Sophie gets an idea that ends up with a one-of-a-kind hat for her friend.


Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam

Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, 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.