Every person is a unique and beautiful creation — it says so right in the Torah (adam yehidi nivra). So why be like everyone else when you were born to be you?
Sometimes, as children grow, they can feel a lot of pressure to tone down their personalities to blend in. Each of the children's books on this list encourages the reader to embrace what makes them special and to see the good in their peers as well. Families can use these stories to help build up a child's self-esteem and confidence and to kickstart conversations about honoring differences.
Related: What’s Jewish About Respecting Differences?
Recommended for ages 2 to 5
PJ Library author Todd Parr is well known for his beautiful and vibrantly illustrated books that encourage kids to love themselves. In addition to Be Who You Are!, be sure to also check out It’s Okay to be Different and The Family Book at your local library.
Recommended for ages 4 to 8
Prolific children’s author Lesléa Newman is the creator of beloved PJ Library titles like Ketzel: The Cat Who Composed as well as A Sweet Passover. Families will love this wonderful read aloud story about a boy who loves to use the word “fabulous.”
Recommended for ages 5 to 6
Jules the squirrel wants to play football, but the eagle, buffalo, and bear tell him he's all wrong for the game. But then the goat tells him that a wise person once said, "If you will it, it is no dream." Jules decides to work hard and give it his best shot, despite all the discouragement. And guess what happens?
by Debbie Levy
Recommended for ages 7 and up
Disagreeing does not necessarily make you disagreeable. Just ask Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the first Jewish woman on the US Supreme Court. When she was a young girl, lots of people told her she didn’t have what it took to do the things she wanted to do, but she disagreed — and proved them wrong. Now she shows the whole world that sometimes it’s important to say “I dissent!”
Recommended for ages 4 to 5
As the only Jewish child in her class, a young girl not only learns that each person is unique but is able to share this understanding with her classmates.
Recommended for ages 8 and up
When Ezra Jack Keats was growing up, he knew what it was like to feel different and left out. So when he created his famous picture book, A Snowy Day, he had an idea about how to write and draw his main character, Peter.
Recommended for ages 6 to 7
Israel has one of the largest populations of migrating birds -- and in this story, one of them gets stuck in a net in the fish ponds on Maya’s kibbutz. Maya and her dad have to figure out how to save it!
Recommended for ages 4 to 7
Casey loves the same shimmery, shiny, garments and accessories as his sister, Jessie. But Jessie’s not so sure about how Casey likes to dress. Will she come around and recognize that sparkles are for everyone?
See all PJ Library Book Lists
June 11, 2019