Passover Essentials: Perfect Books for Pesach

Passover Essentials: Perfect Books for Pesach

Passover is a Jewish holiday about tradition, family, and faith. It’s also featured prominently in a number of books. Here, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Seder stories that you can share with your friends and family.

Children’s books

A Different Kind of Passover

Jessica loves celebrating Passover with her family. She enjoys the traditions, the food, and the fact that it’s the same every year. But this year might be different. Grandpa just returned home from the hospital and still isn’t feeling well. Jessica wonders who will read the Haggadah if he can’t, and then she has an idea. Jessica and her family work together to organize a Seder that Grandpa can attend from his bed. It may not be like any Seder they’ve had before, but it’s still filled with love and family.


BUY

More Than Enough

The Seder song “Dayenu” is the theme of this picture book, reminding readers to be grateful for what they have and thankful for their blessings. A family begins preparing for the feast by first visiting the farmers’ market to pick up ingredients for the charoset, and then traveling to Nana’s house for the meal. This tale is the perfect reminder to bask in the small joys of the holiday and to appreciate what is really important.

The Passover Cowboy

Little cowboys and cowgirls will love this tale of an Argentinian Seder. Jacob and his family moved from Russia to Argentina, and Jacob worries that Passover won’t be the same in their new home. In Russia, neighbors were always visiting each other, and Jacob hopes to recreate that by inviting his friend Benito to the meal. But Benito says no, and then chickens begin coming through the door left open for Elijah! Young readers will laugh at the mishaps and cheer as Jacob works make this new house a home.

Middle grade

Lucky Broken Girl

This book doesn’t center on Passover, but it does follow a year in the life of a Cuban-Jewish immigrant. Set in the 1960s, the story focuses on a young girl named Ruthie Mizrahi. New York City is vastly different from her home in Cuba, but she’s looking forward to making new friends and exploring her neighborhood. Her plans are put on hold when she’s involved in a car accident that leaves her in a body cast. Trapped in bed for months on end, Ruthie begins to closely observe the world around her and she learns more about her family and herself. Based on the author’s own childhood memories, this tale is sure to resonate with readers who have ever felt a longing to belong.


BUY

All-of-a-Kind Family

This is the first in Sydney Taylor’s series about a Jewish family living on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1912. The five sisters go on a number of fun adventures, including a trip to Coney Island and witnessing the firework show on the Fourth of July. One the book’s pivotal moments takes place during Passover, when four of the girls are stricken with scarlet fever. Any reader who has been ill for a major family event or holiday will commiserate with the girls’ longing to participate in the Seder and find joy in the sisters escapades once they’re out of bed and back in the neighborhood.

Penina Levine Is a Hard-Boiled Egg

Penina Levine is no pushover. When her teacher tells the class that their next assignment is to write a letter as the Easter Bunny, Penina refuses, even after she’s told that she’ll receive a zero for the assignment. Still, Penina worries that her teacher might even flunk her for missing three school days to travel to her family’s Seder. Penina doesn’t believe her parents will understand her situation, so she confides in her grandmother and is shocked when Grandma takes her side, believing that she did the right thing by standing by her religion and refusing to complete the assignment. But will her Grandma’s support keep Penina from flunking? You’ll have to read to find out.


BUY

Adult

The Zookeeper’s Wife

Meet Jan and Antonina Zabinski. They’re zookeepers living in Poland, but they also have a big secret. After the bombing of their zoo, they began rescuing people from the Nazis by hiding them in animal cages. All told, they saved the lives of more than three hundred individuals this way. This incredible true story must be read to be believed. Plus, if you end up enjoying this book as much as we think you will, you can visit your local movie theater to see the film adaptation on the silver screen, starring Jessica Chastain.

The Dinner Party

Grab a seat: You’re invited to spend Passover with the Gold family in Greenwich. But there’s another special guest, too: a member of the prominent Rothschild family. Sylvia Gold, the matriarch of the family, finds out that one of her children is dating a Rothschild and plans to bring him and his parents to the Seder she’s planning. Sylvia knows she must plan her best Seder yet, and sets to work preparing for the impending dinner. We know you’ll love this heartwarming tale about love, family, and the importance of being true to yourself.

All Other Nights

Readers, meet Jacob Rappaport. He is a Jewish 19-year-old who doesn’t want to take part in the arranged marriage his family would like to set up for him. Instead, he runs away from home to join the Union army during the Civil War. Soon, his peers in the army discover that he is from a successful and influential family, and task him with a series of missions that seem all but impossible. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raved: “Horn propels the story at a thriller’s pace; the mix of love and loyalty played out in a divided America is sublime.”


BUY

Moses: A Human Life

Moses is a hugely important religious figure in Christianity and Judaism alike. Here, in this enlightening book by Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, he is rendered on the page in a fascinating and nuanced way. Readers will delve into the details of Moses’ life and times, and will gain significant insight into the history of the Jewish faith as a whole. In a starred review, Kirkus praised the book as “A meaty, worthwhile biography by a great interpreter of Jewish texts.”

Cookbooks

Matzo

There may be no food more synonymous with Jewish cuisine than matzo, and it is especially important to the celebration of Passover. Matzo is deliciously crunchy, and readers will love learning about its unexpected versatility as an ingredient. In this exciting cookbook from Michele Streit Heilbrun and David Kirschner, readers can get creative with their matzo and make delicious concoctions like matzo granola all year long. If you love putting a new spin on traditional ingredients, this book is sure to delight.


BUY

Yiddish Cuisine

You’re in good hands with Florence Kahn. In this cookbook, Kahn shares recipes from her famous delicatessen in Paris, making it possible for readers to taste her delicious food without hopping on an international flight. Anyone can follow these recipes, and use them to make super-comforting, delicious, traditional Yiddish food. Whether you’re hankering for a hearty helping of herring in a fur coat, or you just want a bagel, there’s something here for everyone. And don’t forget about dessert! We’ve got our eye on the pistachio cheesecake.


BUY

Sweet Noshings

If you dream of babka and blintzes, then this is the cookbook for you. Author Amy Kritzer dishes up sweet treats from her kitchen, some of which were passed down from her Bubbe Eleanor. These recipes are comfortingly traditional, but also jazzed-up and more modern than the confections readers may have grown up eating. We’ve got our eye on the honey pomegranate whiskey cake, the Tex Mex chocolate rugelach, and the Manischewitz ice cream with brown butter charoset and Manischewitz caramel.

Elizabeth Rowe
Elizabeth was an American Studies major at Georgetown University, and is currently getting her MFA in nonfiction writing at Columbia University. She spends entirely too much time and money at the Strand, where she once saw Daniel Radcliffe. Her current obsession is the My Struggle series by Karl Ove Knausgaard, and she thoroughly embarrassed herself when she met him shortly after the release of volume four (and she has the photos to prove it).

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