Jewish American Heritage Month: Chapter Books

White Plains is a wonderfully diverse community! Parents, children, and teens have expressed an interest in titles that reflect the diversity in the community, and Ashley, Kathlyn, and Raquel's “Dive Into Diversity” column will spotlight noteworthy children's and teen titles that are inclusive, diverse and multicultural to fulfill that interest. Ashley's portion is aimed at readers in grades 4-6.

May is Jewish American Heritage Month and I enjoyed reading the delightful My Basmati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman, which Kathlyn suggested I try. Read on to find out more about why your child may have fun reading it as well as other recommendations for books to celebrate!

My Bas­mati Bat Mitzvah by Paula J. Freedman
For children in grades 4-7.
Hoopla: eBook
OverDrive: eBook

Tara Feinstein is almost thirteen years old and preparing for her bat mitzvah. This is a coming of age tale of a kid that wants to be allowed to be different in a good way and to embrace both her Indian and Jewish heritages. There is a ton to love in this book – the setting of New York City and Tara’s relationships with her many quirky family members. Tara is just so savvy and humorous. I really related to her as someone that also very much loves snacks! Reading about her adventures in the robotics club and quest to build a race car made me nostalgic to when I did that as a kid. One of my favorite quotes from Tara was “but now I know that inspiration can come from many different sources, and that having multicultural experiences can actually make you stronger and more accepting of different points of view.” This book opened my eyes to experiences I’ve never had before and I enjoyed learning about folks from different backgrounds than my own. It reminded me to keep my heart and mind open to others!

This Is Just a Test by Madelyn Rosenberg and Wendy Wan-Long Shang
For children in grades 4-8.
OverDrive: eBook
“In the months leading up to his bar mitzvah, David Da-Wei Horowitz deals with a host of middle school crises, from bickering grandmas and trouble talking to his crush to fearing the possibility of nuclear fallout.” –Kirkus Reviews

Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack
For children in grades 4-7.
OverDrive: eBook
“In this charming historical fantasy set in an alternate 10th-century Kievan Rus’, an 11-year-old Jewish girl seeks to save her family home from repossession by finding a fabled river dragon and collecting the czar’s reward.” –Publishers Weekly

The Whole Story of Half a Girl by Veera Hiranandani
For children in grades 4-7.
OverDrive: eBook
“Just before fifth grade ends, life is sweet for Sonia. She loves the alternative private school that she attends with her best friend Sam, where her half-Jewish, half-Indian background is simply accepted. But when her father loses his job and Sonia must attend public school in the fall, life gets complicated.” –Publishers Weekly

The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz and illuminated by Hatem Aly
For children in grades 5-9.
OverDrive: Audio and eBook
“This book appeals to the heart, to the mind, and to any reader’s appetite for action: read it for the thrilling escapes, the fart jokes, the stinky cheese, or the palace intrigue. Read it for the Talmudic wisdom, commonsense philosophies, and moments of doubt. Read it for the palaces and monasteries and the unbelievable descriptions of food. But read it.” –School Library Journal

Categories: Authors & Books, eNewsletter, Kids, and Library News.

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