Best Children’s Books

By Jessica Fink
Macks CJE Librarian

I was asked to write a blog post on the top 10 best children’s books that have become part of the CJE (Macks Center for Jewish Education) Library collection last year. This was not an easy task. 

The best children’s books up into five specific categories; Picture books, Non-fiction picture books, easy reader chapter books, chapter books, and graphic novels.

Picture Books

Benny’s Mitzvah Notes by Marc Lumer
Benny’s Mitzvah Notes is a story about a boy named Benny receiving mitzvah notes for his good deeds. As he grows older, he stops receiving the tangible notes because the act of doing mitzvot become a part of his daily life. 

The Great Shabbos Food Debate by Rabbi B
In the evening after the store has closed, the Shabbos items have a discussion while sitting on the shelves in the grocery store. Boasting about what each item provides to the Shabbos table, the items come to a beautiful resolution.

The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc (PJ Library Book)
A wounded Bird finds himself in a Lion’s garden, when lo and behold, kindness leads the way toward a beautiful friendship. This sweet story shows how friendship endures and changes us for the better. 

Easy Reader Chapter Books

Me and My Dog (Series) by Dave Adler
This series follow Danny, a clever, young Jewish boy who enjoys solving mysteries with his dog. This series is written in a format friendly to beginning readers. 

Chapter Books

Jelly Eli Z (Series) by Dave Adler and Dena Ackerman 
This wonderful series introduces the reader to Eli Zipperbaum, better known as Jelly Eli Z. Jelly Eli Z and his friends are figuring out their path in challenging situations. 

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier (PJ Our Way)
Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is one of the best chimney boys in Victorian London — even though she’s a girl. It’s a dangerous job and we are introduced to the mysterious and magical Charlie, a golem. It’s here that a beautiful friendship is formed!

Graphic Novels

Rollercoaster Grandma!: The True Story of Dr. Ruth by Dr. Ruth K. Westheimer and Pierre A. Lehu
This graphic novel-style autobiography for children ages 8-12 depicts the ups and downs of world-renowned therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Westheimer shares portions of her life, including her escape from the Nazis at age 10, to her training as a sniper in Israel. It continues through her immigration to the U.S. where she held many different jobs before launching her career that led her to be known as the beloved and famous Dr. Ruth.

White Bird: A Wonder Story by R.J. Palacio 
From the Wonder Series, readers are introduced to Julian’s grandmother, Grandmère. As a young Jewish girl living in a Nazi-occupied French village during World War II; We learn that the boy she and her classmates once shunned has ironically risen to become her savior and best friend.

There are, of course, countless other books that could easily have made this list. We are so lucky to have a wide-ranging collection of material that can enrich the lives of our children — and with so many to choose from, I hope this selection can narrow your list down a bit. That said, it’s always a great idea to scan the shelves and see what catches your eye…you never know what new story you’ll unexpectedly fall in love with.

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