Children's Books to Read After the Pittsburgh Shooting

After the tragic violence in Pittsburgh earlier this week, many parents are finding themselves at a loss for how to comfort our kids. When children are having big feelings, familiarity brings calm. Use one of these books to remind children that while things may feel scary and sad now, they can still take refuge in a favorite story.

For more resources for families please see:
How to Talk to Kids About Scary Situations
Videos to Help Kids Through Scary Situations
How to Talk to Kids About Anti-Semitism

Use the buttons below to find books about the following topics:

BOOKS ABOUT IMMIGRATION

The tragedy in Pittsburgh has brought the topic of immigration and refugees to the forefront of many conversations this week. The role of HIAS in settling Jewish refugees in the 19th and 20th centuries has been enormous. As the organization has stated, “we used to resettle refugees because THEY were Jewish, now we do so because WE are Jewish.” It is incumbent upon us to engage in acts of hachnasat orchim, welcoming the stranger.

These books tell stories of the immigrant experience:

All Kinds of Strong
Anna and Solomon
Annushka’s Voyage
The Always Prayer Shawl
The Castle on Hester Street
Emma’s Poem
Feivel’s Flying Horses
The Knish War on Rivington Street
The Memory Coat
Mendel's Accordian
Molly’s Pilgrim
My Grandfather’s Coat
My Name is Aviva

Naming Liberty
What Zeesie Saw on Delancey Street
When Jessie Came Across the Sea

BOOKS ABOUT WELCOMING OTHERS

These books emphasize the importance of welcoming others:

Much, Much Better
Welcome

BOOKS ABOUT DIVERSE FRIENDSHIPS

At a time when acts of racially motivated hate and antisemitism are at a high here in the United States, these are books that feature the beauty of diversity and the importance of coming together across racial and religious lines. These are the stories that will cultivate an appreciation for and an understanding of the other.

Across the Alley
Chicken Soup, Chicken Soup
Chik Chak Shabbat
My Face Book
One City, Two Brothers
A Tale of Two Mountains
Yaffa and Fatima

Find more suggestions and book ideas in this list of Children’s Books About Friendship

Related: What’s Jewish About Respecting Differences?

BOOKS ABOUT BEING JEWISH

Some may be hoping to facilitate conversations about why it’s important to publicly proclaim our Judaism now more than ever. A mezuzah is a public proclamation of faith for all to see. These books delve deeper into that:

A Mezuzah on the Door
The Shema in the Mezuzah

Find more suggestions in the list Books About Being Jewish

BOOKS ABOUT MAKING A DIFFERENCE

When we’re feeling like the problems of the world may be too big for us to fix, these books show us that we can help. In fact, research shows that helping others really does make us feel better. Children will feel empowered by these examples of one small person having a big impact.

10 Things I Can Do To Help My World
26 Big Things Little Hands Can Do
Chicken Soup by Heart
The Cholent Brigade
Gathering Sparks
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman
How to Heal a Broken Wing
I Can Help
One Good Deed
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
Take Care
Thanks for Today
Tikkun Olam Ted

BOOKS ABOUT SPEAKING UP

For those looking to be inspired to speak out and stand up for what they believe in, this book is the perfect choice.

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark

For more recommendations, see 15 Children’s Books Featuring Characters Who Speak Their Minds

BOOKS TO SET ROUTINES

Children, and all of us really, thrive when there is regularity and ritual in our lives. If you’re looking for books to cultivate that practice, these are excellent choices.

The Bedtime Sh’ma
Goodnight Sh'ma
The Peace Book

Related: Creating a Simple Bedtime Routine for Babies and Toddlers

BOOKS TO HELP COPE WITH LOSS

Seeing examples of other who have experienced loss and sadness but gotten through it helps children to see that there is a future beyond this sad time. While PJ Library does not distribute books for young children that explicitly explore death and dying, this book does address loss.

Mrs. Katz and Tush

For more recommendations around books that can help children cope with illness or death, read Children’s Books About Death and Illness.

Related: How to Talk to Kids About Death and Dying

MUSIC

We usually share music suggestions posts geared towards little ones, but this playlist is a special mix created for grown-ups. We hope you'll enjoy these songs of hope and community from Jewish artists. For more Jewish music, visit PJLibraryRadio.com.