5 Jewish Picture Books for Children Who Love Mysteries

Little girl with magnifying glass

“Why? How come? What are you doing?” Asking questions is the way of life for young children. Propelled by their boundless curiosity, children under the age of five ask an average of 76 questions per hour. “At the heart of what it means to be a Jew is to ask questions,” says Rabbi Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, a prominent American rabbi.

Judaism encourages us to engage with the world around us by being curious about it — and sometimes challenging it. The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) is filled with stories of people asking questions, and the Talmud (the core collection of rabbinic writings) is fueled by rabbis questioning both the texts and each other. The hero of the Passover story, Moses, even questioned God! The Passover seder revolves around questions, the most notable being the Four Questions asked by the youngest participant.

If your child loves to ask questions, explore, and problem solve, you’ll want to pick up one of the books listed below. Kids will be able to follow along and use their own questioning and detective skills to solve the mysteries in these titles.

Related: 8 Books to Inspire Curious Kids

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.

The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story

The Mystery Bear: A Purim Story by Leone Adelson

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

A hungry bear, waking from hibernation, finds himself in the home of an elderly woman as she celebrates the holiday of Purim.

The Rabbi Slurps Spaghetti

The Rabbi Slurps Spaghetti by Leslie Kimmelman

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Lena is a kid detective — and her current case is figuring out what makes Rabbi Max tick! Why is he so involved with the community? She’s watching closely…

Sadie’s Lag Ba’Omer Mystery

Sadie’s Lag Ba’Omer Mystery Aby Jamie Korngold

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Do you know what the holiday of Lag B’Omer is all about? To Sadie and Ori, this holiday is a mystery -- so they visit their Grandpa to help them solve it.

The Vanishing Gourds

The Vanishing Gourds: A Sukkot Mystery by Susan Axe-Bronk

Recommended for ages 5 to 6

Sara and her mom make a special trip to the country to choose decorations for the family sukkah. Who’s responsible for the fact that Sara’s favorite gourds disappear, one by one, from the sukkah.

Do you have an older reader at home who also loves mysteries?
PJ Our Way’s Story Central to find reading and parent guide selections for tons of great Jewish middle-grade books, including mysteries!