Guess what? Passover is really soon! It starts next Monday night, so if you’re planning a seder, now’s the time to figure out which haggadah you want to use. There are a TON out there, so we thought we could help narrow down your search with a few we enjoy. Some are for kids, some are for adults, and some are for the whole family, so take a look and find what’s best for you.
1. Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah
This is part of the Sammy Spider series that cover most major Jewish holidays with beautiful illustrations and a totally non-scary spider protagonist. It has plenty of fun Passover songs, like “Crunch Goes the Matzah” (sung to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel). While this one is definitely aimed at kids, the illustrations are pretty and unique enough that adults won’t mind flipping through it, either.
2. A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices
Here’s another expansive haggadah with full traditional text, reflections on the meaning of Passover, folktales, songs, and stories. One of the best parts about A Night to Remember is the cartoon illustrations, with pictures like a bitter herbs taste test and a karpas vending machine.
3. The Katz Passover Haggadah
This one is the coffee table book of the haggadah world. Its glossy pages boast intricate artwork that is colorful, beautiful, and sometimes even a little scary. I’d probably avoid showing your kids the picture of Pharoah bathing in a pool of blood while a decrepit slave sits with his hands chained to his neck, but the adults at the table might appreciate the brutality.
4. Richard Codor’s Joyous Haggadah: The Illuminated Story of Passover
This one is definitely great for young kids, full of large text and bright, inviting pictures. The story of Passover is told in comic book form, and the back of the book has a recipe for “Chocolate Matzah Delight” that begs to be devoured.
5. Rabbi Jonathon Sacks’s Haggadah
On one end, this is a straightforward haggadah with all the prayers and steps necessary to run a seder–no drawings, no gimmicks, just the text. The other half of the book has 21 different essays on Passover, including topics like women and the exodus and the rebirth of Israel. This one’s definitely for the scholar in you.
6. Passover Haggadah: The Feast of Freedom
Here’s another fairly straightforward haggadah, though its shiny pages do have some abstract, color-block illustrations to make the big chunks of Hebrew text seem slightly less intimidating. It’s put out by the Rabbinical Assembly, so you can feel very official while using it.
7. A Family Haggadah
There are two editions of this hagaddah, one with the subtitle “A Seder Service for All Ages” and the other “For Families with Young Children.” The one for young children comes with a disclaimer in the introduction: “Do not attempt to discuss all the questions and do all the suggested activities. That would make the seder long and tedious.” I like the honesty. Both are very easy to follow and come with the Hebrew, English, and transliteration of all the prayers and songs involved with the seder. They’re also nice and small, so you don’t have to worry about overcrowding the seder table.
8. My Very Own Haggadah
This haggadah doubles as a coloring book, so it’s a great way to keep the kids occupied before, during, and after the seder. It’s been around for over 30 years, so it can serve as a nice reminder that what entertained you as a child still has the potential to entertain your own kids.
9. A Different Night: The Family Participation Haggadah
This is a very comprehensive haggadah that keeps both adults and children’s interests in mind. Along with outlining the steps of the seder in clear sections, ethnic traditions, interesting Passover tid bits, and even a fictional newspaper with headlines like, “Sudden death strikes men and cattle” fill the pages. For the kids, fun things like the script for a Passover skit help make the seder more than just a boring dinner. For those looking for a speed read, there’s also a compact edition that has all the traditional text with a little less commentary.