Five Israel-Infused Picture Books for Year-Round Reading – Jewish Journal

Posted By on December 5, 2021

As an emerging picture-book writer, Ive been immersing myself in the world of Jewish childrens literature for a while now. And Ive been especially happy to encounter multiple books that have broadened my own, grown-up appreciation for Israel.

For reasons perhaps better left to speculation elsewhere, Israel-infused kidlit doesnt appear on as many book lists as it should, in both mainstream and Jewish contexts. But given the current emphasis on diversity and inclusion within both broader cultural discussions and the Jewish-book world itself, stories set in Israelmany of which feature Jews of color, Sephardic and/or Mizrahi Jews, disabled Jews, and moreare particularly worth acknowledgment and amplification. Moreover, the latest data reveal that the plurality of the worlds Jews (6.93 of 15.2 million people) now lives in Israel. Lists that neglect Israel-infused books thus suffer from a dual flaw: They present incomplete pictures of contemporary Jewish life and identity while also foregoing valuable opportunities to enrich important, ongoing conversations.

Here are just five new or recent picture books worthy of attention in this regard, whether during Jewish Book Month (the 5782/2021 version of which concluded just as the Hanukkah holiday began), or throughout the year.

Erika Dreifus is the author of two books for adults (Quiet Americans: Stories and Birthright: Poems). She is currently seeking a home for her first picture-book manuscript. A fellow in the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, Erika teaches at Baruch College/CUNY. Visit her online at

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Five Israel-Infused Picture Books for Year-Round Reading - Jewish Journal

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