5 Picture Books About Tzedakah for Kids Under 5

While kids under five enjoy helping the grown-ups in their lives, their worldview is still pretty “me-centric.” Sure, listening to the “cling” of coins in a tzedakah box is fun, but is it possible for a preschooler to really understand what tzedakah is? After all, justice and charity feel like pretty lofty concepts, even for some adults.

Tzedakah is often translated as charity, but the concept of tzedakah goes beyond that. Charity is seen as going over and above the call of duty, while giving tzedakah is a mitzvah - a commandment. The rabbis of classical Judaism say tzedakah is tied to giving thanks, and its importance makes it equal to all other mitzvot combined. For children, tzedakah might be explained as an expanded version of sharing. Jewish sages say it is our job to make sure the world’s resources are distributed evenly amongst all of the people on Earth who need them, ensuring that everyone can lead happy and healthy lives. Tzedakah can be giving money, giving one’s time or teaching a skill.

Happily story books do an amazing job of helping younger children understand—and get excited about—values like helping others, feeding the hungry, being a good host and being an all-around mensch. The five colorful storybooks in this list are perfect for helping toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners get started on a lifetime practice of giving.


Related: Everything You Need to Know About Tzedakah

10 Things I Can do to Help My World by Melanie Walsh

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

Taking care of the world may feel like a very big job, but even very little people can help. From turning off lights to using both sides of a piece of paper, this book offers easy reminders for all of us to help protect our planet.

26 Big Things Small Hands Can Do by Coleen Paratore

Recommended for ages 2 to 4

As you go through the alphabet, don’t forget the ABCs of mitzvot. Performing good deeds is something even the littlest among us can do.

Avi the Ambulance Goes to School by Claudia Carlson

Recommended for ages 3 to 4

Avi is a little ambulance who lives in Israel. What does an ambulance learn when he goes to school? How to help others! Readers will learn about important Jewish values along with Avi in this fun story.

The Best Sukkot Pumpkin Ever Laya Steinberg

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

When Micah visits the pumpkin patch, he's on a mission to find a great big pumpkin for the sukkah. But the local soup kitchen sure could use a nice, fresh pumpkin. What will Micah do?

Welcome Stephane Barroux

Recommended for ages 4 to 6

Polar Bear and his friends have lost their home. Will they find a safe place to stay? After several animals turn them away, the polar bears find an empty spot where they can settle. And now someone else needs a home...

See all PJ Library books about tzedakah

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