Friday, April 15, 2011

Passover Children's Book Recommendations

Passover plays a major part in the Christian holiday, Easter.  Several years ago a member of our church, who was raised Jewish and converted to Christianity as an adult, led a service in which he explained all the parts of Passover and the significance to the Easter story.  My oldest son STILL talks about that night.

In an effort to better educate myself and my children I brought home a stack of Jewish Passover books from my library.  Let me be clear.  These books are written from a Jewish viewpoint.  Christians are NOT their intended readers. 

Here are my favorites from the stack:

My First Passover by Tomie dePaola.  Published by Putnam's Sons, 1990.

This sweet board book has simple illustrations and wording to help a toddler understand a few of the basics of Passover.  An adult won't learn much but it will familiarize your little guy and help him feel included in the holiday.


Hooray! It's Passover! by Leslie Kimmelman.  Illustrated by John Himmelman.  Published by HarperCollins, 1996.

A young girl describes the night her "relatives come from far and near to share our Sedar dinner."  Her mom lights the holiday candles.  The large extended family eats traditional Passover foods.  And her grampa tells the story of Moses leading the Jews out of Egypt.

This picture book provides information about Passover but doesn't overwhelm young readers with details.  The illustrations invite readers more as you look at the prayer books, foods, and special clothing.

A fun book for 3-8 year olds!


On Passover by Cathy Goldberg Fishman.  Illustrated by Melanie W. Hall.  Published by Atheneum Books an imprint of Simon & Schuster, 1997.

A child describes the Passover preparations of his (or her, we aren't told which) family.  Each time the child asks a question about the preparations he is told to use one of his 5 senses to figure out the answer.  This clever presentation teaches us about the foods, story and games of Passover.

An enjoyable book for 4-8 year olds.


The Passover Journey: A Seder Companion by Barbara Diamond Goldin.  Illustrated by Neil Waldman.  Published by Viking, a division of Penguin, 1994.

I'm not sure if this book is intended to be a Passover Haggadah or not.  It is divided into two sections.  The first section contains the story of Moses leading the Jewish people out of slavery in Egypt.  The second section breaks the Sedar (or Passover dinner) into 14 sections and gives a short description of each one.  

Though this is probably not an authentic Haggadah it would be helpful to Christian families wanting to learn more about Passover and how to observe the holiday with their children.  I think it would make a valuable resource in your personal library.


Why on this Night?: A Passover Haggadah for Family Celebration by Rahel Musleah.  Illustrated by Louise August.  Published by Simon & Schuster, 2000.

This book is a detailed guide to celebrate Passover with your children.  It contains songs (in English and Hebrew), recipes and games.  This guide lays everything out for you and give several options for each of the parts of the Sedar.

I like the details and the choices but, because I'm new to celebrating Passover, I'm a little overwhelmed by this book.  It's a valuable resource and I'm sure as I grow more familiar and comfortable with the vocabulary I'll find it easier to use.

Has your family celebrated Passover?  If so, what resources do you use?  If not, would you consider it?

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