Monday, April 02, 2007


Passover begins tonight at sundown. Here are some children's books that explain the holiday:

Schotter, Roni. Passover! New York: Little, Brown, and Company, 2006.

This tells the story of a Passover meal, complete with matzoh ball soup, gefilte fish, and finding the matzoh. This book is suitable for toddlers and preschoolers. Children not familiar with Passover may not understand several references, such as “Passover clean” (before Passover, the family must clean the house in order to get rid of any unleavened bread crumbs).

Fishman, Cathy Goldberg. On Passover. New York: Atheneum Books For Young Readers (imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division), 1997.

Through the story of one family’s preparations for Passover, we learn about traditional meals for seder, the Haggadah (the book used for Passover services), and about the “Four Questions” asked by the youngest child during the Seder.

Admittedly, a Jewish child growing up in an observant home would probably not ask some of the more basic questions. However, the traditions and symbols of Passover are related in a readable and child-friendly manner.

Goldin, Barbara Diamond. The Passover Journey: A Seder Companion. New York: Penguin, 1994.

Starting with the enslavement of the Jews in Egypt to the exodus of the Jews to Mount Sinai, we learn about the many trials that the Jewish people faced in Egypt as told in the Torah and the Old Testament/Jewish Scriptures. After that, we learn about the seder, the fourteen steps of the seder, the symbolism of Elijah’s cup, and much more. The Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust are briefly discussed in the section explaining Barekh (13th step), in which the participants remember other times in which the Jewish people faced enslavement and cruelty. This is a meaty book for elementary school children. Adults unfamiliar with Passover will get a lot from the book, too.

Lehman-Wilzig, Tami. Passover Around the World. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben Publishing, Inc (division of Lerner Publishing Group), 2007.

I’m saving my favorite book for last. Not only do we learn why Jewish people observe Passover and learn about the Seder table, we learn about Jewish communities in Gibraltar, Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Iran, and other countries celebrate Passover. A short story, a brief history of that country’s Jewish community, and a recipe are presented for each country. Since many children’s books featuring Judaism or Jewish characters published in the United States are presented from a Western or Eastern European tradition, this book is especially welcome.

Websites about Passover:

KidsDomain's Passover website

TorahTots's Pesach (Passover) site

Happy Passover site

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