Purim is a week and half away (starting on February 23rd) and if you’re looking for more ways to pump your kids up for this joyous holiday (besides costumes and noisemakers) there are some great books out there that we recommend.
All of these books are PJ Library books, meaning you can get them FOR FREE, along with other fantastic Jewish children’s books, every month. If you live in New York, you can sign up for PJ Library through Kveller by clicking here. For everyone else, you can find your local community here.
But enough with that shpiel (get it?). Onto the books!
1. Sammy Spider’s First Purim, written by Sylvia A. Rouss, illustrated by Katherin Janus Kahn
The Shapiro family is getting ready for Purim. Josh is making a grogger to take to the synagogue Megillah reading. Sammy Spider wants to participate, but as Sammy’s mother reminds him, “Spiders don’t celebrate holidays; spiders spin webs.” This time Sammy’s curiosity gets him stuck inside a grogger, spinning noisily among the beans. How will he escape? Ages 5 and up.
2. Cakes and Miracles, written by Barbara Diamond Goldin, illustrated by Jaime Zollars
Purim is approaching and Hershel, the only blind boy in the village, wishes he could help his mother prepare hamantashen for the holiday. If only I could see, he thinks, I could help my mother more. After a visit from an angel in his dream, Hershel learns to create something more beautiful than anyone in the whole village can imagine. Read more about the book, including a recipe for sculpting your own cookies, here. Ages 6 and up.
3. The Mystery Bear: A Purim Love Story, written by Leone Adelson, illustrated by Naomi Howland
When Little Bear wakes up from hibernation and goes off in search of something to eat, the smells of a delicious feast draw him to a nearby house. The people inside are having a wonderful time and are delighted to welcome the stranger in a bear costume–after all, it’s Purim, when lots of people dress up! Ages 4 and up.
4. The Better-Than-Best Purim, by Naomi Howland
Purim is coming! It’s time for the little old lady to bake better-than-best hamantashen. But when she asks her pets to help, they’re all too busy. What could they be up to? Soon the little old lady will find out! Ages 5 and up.
5. Queen Esther Saves Her People, written by Rita Golden Gelman, illustrated by Fran E. Lessac
This retelling of the Purim story remains faithful to the Book of Esther and is accompanied by gorgeous folk-art-style gouache paintings. Ages 5 and up.
6. Purim Play, written by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Marilyn Hafner
A family celebrates Purim by putting on a play about Queen Esther, enlisting the help of a neighbor who does an excellent job of playing the part of Haman. Ages 6 and up.
7. When It’s Purim, written by Edie Stoltz Zolkower, illustrated by Barb Bjornson
In this cute board book, a family of woodland creatures learn how to make hamantaschen in order to celebrate Purim. Ages 2 and up.
Remember, you can get books like these sent to your house for free every month through PJ Library.