Librarian Prep List for Jewish American Heritage Month

May is Jewish American Heritage Month! Here’s a list of book display ideas or selections for your readers advisory group.

Nothing Could Stop Her (Front Cover)

Nothing Could Stop Her: The Courageous Life of Ruth Gruber

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 – Grade 6

Ruth Gruber didn’t want to live an ordinary life, and she wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Born to a Jewish American family in 1911, she grew up to become a renowned journalist and activist. Her career spanned seven decades and led her to places that other reporters wouldn’t or couldn’t go, from Nazi Germany to the remote Arctic regions of the Soviet Union. At a time when women were expected to stay at home and raise families, Ruth told the stories of people in need and fought for their rights to live in safety and freedom.

“A moving account of an unstoppable woman.”

Kirkus Reviews

My Name Is Hamburger

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 – Grade 7

Say your name with pride!

Trudie Hamburger is the only Jewish kid living in the small southern town of Colburn in 1962. Nobody else at her school has a father who speaks with a German accent or a last name that means chopped meat. Trudie doesn’t want to be the girl who cries when Daniel Reynolds teases her. Or the girl who hides in the library to avoid singing Christian songs in music class. She doesn’t want to be different. But over the course of a few pivotal months, as Trudie confronts her fears and embraces what she loves—including things that make her different from her classmates—she finally finds a way to say her name with pride.

My Name Is Hamburger (Front Cover)
Luis de Torres Sails to Freedom (Front Cover)

Luis de Torres Sails to Freedom

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 4

Luis de Torres is a secret Jew, a Catholic convert, who, in his heart, remains Jewish. When the Inquisition comes and Jews are forced to leave Spain, Luis decides to join a sailing expedition to new lands. He has just his faith, his wits, and a silver hamsa to protect him on his journey. And could it be that Jewish tradition helps protect the ship?

“An outstanding introduction to the Spanish Inquisition and the observance of Tisha B’Av.” ―Association of Jewish Libraries

“The text effectively introduces the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and ­Tisha B’Av…An excellent introduction to a lesser-known holiday and historical event.” ― School Library Journal

Debbie’s Song

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

Debbie Friedman always had music inside her, and she dreamed of using her love of singing to do what no one else had done before—create Jewish music that would welcome, include, and honor the whole Jewish community.

This pic­ture biog­ra­phy will charm teach­ers, care­givers, and all who lis­ten to Jew­ish music.” ―Jewish Book Council

“This tale bears the same timely message as its subject’s music: Let’s all unite in a spirit of community.” ― Kirkus Reviews

Debbie's Song (Front Cover)
The Rabbi and the Reverend (Front Cover)

The Rabbi and the Reverend: Joachim Prinz, Martin Luther King Jr., and Their Fight against Silence

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 4

When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington, he did not stand alone. He was joined by Rabbi Joachim Prinz, a refugee from Nazi Germany, who also addressed the crowd. Though Rabbi Prinz and Dr. King came from very different backgrounds, they were united by a shared belief in justice. And they knew that remaining silent in the face of injustice was wrong. Together, they spoke up and fought for a better future.

The Singer and the Scientist

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 5

It’s 1937, and Marian Anderson is one of the most famous singers in America. But after she gives a performance for an all-white audience, she learns that the nearby hotel is closed to African Americans. She doesn’t know where she’ll stay for the night.

Until the famous scientist Albert Einstein invites her to stay at his house. Marian, who endures constant discrimination as a Black performer, learns that Albert faced prejudice as a Jew in Germany. She discovers their shared passion for music—and their shared hopes for a more just world.

The Singer And The Scientist (Front Cover)
Stars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport (Front Cover)

Stars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 5

This powerful story is told from the collective perspective of the children who were rescued from Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II, as Hitler’s campaign of hatred toward Jews and political dissidents took hold. The narrative starts in 1938 and follows the children as they journey to foster families in England for the duration of the war, return to Prague afterward in an unsuccessful search for their parents, and eventually connect with Nicholas Winton, a British former stockbroker who was instrumental in bringing them to safety. Winton and the Czech Kindertransport ultimately rescued 669 children from Nazi persecution.

Award-winning author Caren Stelson teams up with acclaimed illustrator Selina Alko to sensitively tell this tale of survival and defiance in the face of tyranny.

“A necessary and inspirational book about a little-known light amid a dark period of history, this book should find a home in all libraries.” — starred, School Library Journal

“A not-to-be-missed, inspirational book about courage, heart, and the necessity of caring for others.” — starred, Kirkus Reviews


  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2

When Eastern European Jewish immigrants bring their klezmer music with them to America, it takes on a rockin’ new vibe, adding elements of Jazz borrowed from its new country. In the beautifully illustrated Klezmer!, a child makes an exciting music-filled visit to her grandparents’ apartment in New York City, learning all about the evolution of this toe-tapping music genre.

Klezmer (Front Cover)

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