Jewish American Heritage Month & PJ Library Books

Jewish American Heritage Month & PJ Library BooksTHE MONTH OF MAY was declared in 2006 to be Jewish American Heritage Month. The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum have all since joined in celebrating Jewish American heritage this month each year.

Do your children know about Jewish American heritage? Consider the many stories of individuals who have contributed to our community and culture. Read one of the selected biographies below to generate a Jewish conversation in your home.

The PJ Library book selections below feature biographical stories of noteworthy Jewish Americans.

Brave Girl Brave Girl
Author: Michelle Markel
Illustrator: Melissa Sweet
Just because Clara Lemlich is a young immigrant doesn’t mean she’s going to let factory owners treat workers poorly. After all, equality and a fair shot is what America is all about -- and no one understands that better than this brave girl.
Emma's Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty Emma’s Poem:
The Voice of the Statue of Liberty

Author: Linda Glaser
Illustrator: Claire A. Nivola
Emma Lazarus was raised in a wealthy Jewish American family in 1880’s New York City, where she was moved by the plight of immigrants. As a young woman, asked to write a poem to raise money for a pedestal for the proposed Statue of Liberty, she composed “The New Colossus” and so became the voice of the Statue of Liberty. This is the story of the difference she made in her world.
Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue
Author: Anna Harwell Celenza
Illustrator: Joann E. Kitchel
George Gershwin, an up-and-coming composer, finds himself in a pickle -- he has only a few weeks to write an entire concerto! At first he panics, but then he realizes that all the inspiration he needs is in the great melting pot of immigrant America.
Hammerin' Hank Hammerin’ Hank
Author: Yona Zeldis McDonough
Illustrator: Malcah Zeldis
This story introduces Hank Greenberg, baseball superstar and the first Jewish inductee to the Hall of Fame. Greenberg’s story takes place at a time when “outsiders” were breaking through barriers in American professional sports.
Lipman Pike Lipman Pike
Author: Rich Michelson
Illustrator: Zachary Pullen
As a child, Lipman Pike helps out in his family’s dry-goods store in Brooklyn, but what he really loves is baseball, a new ballgame that everyone’s talking about -- and he’s good at it, too. In a few years, Lip’s offered a job playing baseball professionally! His parents think it’s crazy -- but Lip knows this is the life for him.
On a Beam of Light On a Beam of Light
Author: Jennifer Berne
Illustrator: Vladimir Radunsky
A boy rides a bicycle down a dusty road. But in his mind, he envisions himself traveling at a speed beyond imagining, on a beam of light. This brilliant mind will one day offer up some of the most revolutionary ideas ever conceived. From a boy endlessly fascinated by the wonders around him, Albert Einstein ultimately grows into a man of genius recognized the world over for profoundly illuminating our understanding of the universe.
You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?! You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
Author: Jonah Winter
Illustrator: Jonah Winter
This book opens a window into the life of the major league baseball player many called the greatest lefty who ever pitched. Included in this story is Koufax’s famous decision to sit out the first game of the 1965 World Series rather than play on Yom Kippur.
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