On the shelf
PJ Library

The PJ Library Book Selection Committee has a challenging task: Every month we have to find not one, not two, but eight of the best Jewish children’s books possible. Each title needs to entertain, inspire, and delight its readers — kids and grown-ups alike. These are a few of our recent choices.


Flying High by Julian Edelman

PJ Library Subscriber Age: 5

You may know Julian Edelman as the small, scrappy New England Patriot who made one of the greatest catches ever in Super Bowl history. But before he reached that shining moment, Edelman had to overcome lots of preconceived ideas about who can play football. As time went by his former detractors started calling him the “Minitron” and “Energizer Bunny” because he didn’t let his size stop him and he never, ever quit. As the 19th-century Zionist Theodor Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream” — and the book selection committee thinks Edelman is a perfect example.


A Poem For Peter by Andrea Davis Pinkney

PJ Library Subscriber Age: 8

Jack Ezra Keats’ classic children’s book The Snowy Day is a quiet story, but it made a loud splash when it hit the publishing scene in the early 1960s. It was the first mainstream picture book to feature an African American child. “My book had him there simply because he should have been there all along,” said Keats — who had been born Jacob Ezra Katz, and who knew all too well what it felt like to be unseen and marginalized. This lyrical book explores how one’s past can shape what he or she brings into the world.


Queen Of The Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg

PJ Library Subscriber Age: 5

Hanukkah is coming, and Sadie’s family is getting ready. Luckily, her mom grew up in India, and oily, pan-fried dosas happen to make a terrific Hanukkah treat — just as yummy as latkes. But toddler Sadie keeps climbing up the counter, getting in the way of the food prep. When the family manages to lock themselves out of the house — just when their Hanukkah party is about to start! — Sadie’s climbing skills are suddenly exactly what they need. The book selection committee was charmed by this sweet story that shows how a family’s particular quirks can be very lucky indeed.

Bubbe’s Got The Beat by Judy Press

PJ Library Subscriber Age: 2

Who’s got it going on? Bubbe, that’s who. Far from a bit player, this family’s grandmother is the star of Shabbat, inviting all the grandkids over for a rollicking Friday night meal. The book selection committee knows that PJ Library grandparents often play an active and energetic role in their grandchildren’s lives, so we were delighted to see this reflected in such a fun-loving, warm story. Bubbe strikes a beat that will have fingers snapping and toes tapping all week long.

Purim Masquerade by Samara Klein

PJ Library Subscriber Age: 2

It’s a never-ending irony: Purim is possibly the most fun holiday for kids, and yet the Purim story can be scary or hard for them to understand. Enter Purim Masquerade: half book, half mask, this title manages to harness all the fun of costumes and make-believe in a way that little ones can totally enjoy. We’ll admit it: Book selection committee members are looking forward to reading this one aloud to the little ones in their own lives. We’re certain this is one book that won’t be gathering dust on the shelf!


The Candlewick by Jennifer Rosner

PJ Library Subscriber Age: 6

In The Mitten String, author Jennifer Rosner wove a beautiful tale of how young Ruthie befriends her deaf friend, Bayla, and comes up with an idea to solve a problem that everyone who’s ever lost a mitten will relate to. The Candlewick continues the story of their friendship, as Ruthie thinks of another string-based solution to one of Bayla’s problems. The book selection committee loves the quiet lyricism of Rosner’s storytelling, which is inspired by her experiences with her own daughters.