Area librarians were asked for their favorite High Holy Days books.

Andrea Davidson The Temple-Tifereth Israel, Cleveland and Beachwood

“It’s Shofar Time! It’s Holiday Time!” by Latifa Berry Kropf. Photos by Tod Cohen. Kar-Ben Publishing, Minneapolis, MN. 2006. $12.95.

Seen through Tod Cohen’s lively photographs, a Jewish preschool class exuberantly celebrates Rosh Hashanah. They blow the shofar, dip apples in honey and make l’Shana Tovah cards. The book highlights a multi-ethnic group of children and includes a shofar craft, along with a brief explanation of the holiday. For preschool.

“The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story” by Jacqueline Jules. Illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn. Kar-Ben Copies: Rockland, MD. 2011. $6.95 paperback.

The Ziz, a huge bird who is clumsy but good-hearted, accidentally destroys a children’s vegetable garden. When he asks God what to do, he learns that “the hardest word” to say is “sorry” and how important it is to apologize. For preschool to grade two.

“Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story” by I.L. Peretz and adapted by Eric A. Kimmel. Illustrated by Jill Weber. Holiday House: NY. 2009. $16.95; $6.95 paperback.

Jill Weber’s delightful illustrations are perfect for Kimmel’s retelling of this famous folktale. A skeptical visitor to the village of Nemirov finds out where its rabbi really goes just before the Jewish new year, when the villagers claim he goes to heaven to speak to God.

“Gershon’s Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year” retold by Eric A. Kimmel. Illusrated by Jon J. Muth. Scholastic Press: N.Y. 2000. $16.95.

Gershon, a selfish, thoughtless man, finally repents for his sins, which are threatening the lives of his beloved twin children, in this retelling of a Chasidic legend. The book explains the customs of Tashlich (throw) and teshuvah (repentance). For grades two to four.

“New Year at the Pier: a Rosh Hashanah Story” by April Halprin Wayland. Illusrated by Stephane Jorisch. Dial Press: N.Y. 2009. $16.99.

Saralee Epstein Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood branch

It’s Shofar Time by Latifa Berry Kropf, photographs by Tod Cohen

With a brief amount of text on each page and vibrant photographs of happy preschoolers engaged in familiar activities relevant to the holidays, young children are introduced to Rosh Hashanah themes and customs.

The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Janus Kahn

The serious theme of repentance and making amends is addressed in an entertaining, light-hearted way in this humorous tale about the legendary Ziz, a colorful, lovable, but very clumsy giant bird. Following his latest damaging mishap the Ziz is sent by God on a quest to find the hardest word which he discovers is “sorry.”

Even Higher: A Rosh Hashanah Story by I.L.Peretz, Adapted by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Jill Weber

With Weber’s folk art illustrations recreating the feel of an Eastern European shtetl, Kimmel retells Peretz’s beautiful story about the mysterious disappearance of the town’s beloved rabbi every year before Rosh Hashanah. The villagers believe that the holy man ascends to heaven to plead with God, but when a skeptic follows him, he discovers that instead the rabbi goes to chop wood and build a warming fire for a poor, old, sickly widow; and with this charitable deed he actually ascends “maybe even higher.” (There is another fine adaptation of this story by Richard Ungar).

Celebrate Rosh Hashanah & Yom Kippur with Honey, Prayers and the Shofar by Deborah Heiligman

Part of the National Geographic series Holidays around the World, this attractively laid out book provides a good introduction to the High Holidays. The significance of the holidays and the customs associated with them are clearly explained and illustrated with colorful photographs of Jews celebrating in many diverse communities throughout the world.

Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride by Deborah Cohen, illustrated by Shahar Kober

This Rosh Hashanah story brings to life the Israel of 1892 as it depicts the first train ride from Jaffa to Jerusalem. A boastful Engineer Ari is chosen to make the historic trip, but as the mustachioed engineer drives through the countryside collecting special gifts to bring to the holy city, he comes to realize that his arrogance has hurt his coworkers. He embarks on a return trip to do ‘teshuvah’ and make amends to his friends.

Julie Moss and Ronna Fox Anshe Chesed Fairmount Temple, Beachwood

“Even Higher: A Rosh Hashanah Story”

“The World’s Birthday” by Barbara Diamond Goldin; illustrated by Jeanette Winter  

“The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story”

Here is a fun story that kids can relate to. It’s a good discussion starter about the holiday and when to say “I’m sorry.”

“The Secret Shofar of Barcelona” by Jacqueline Dembar Greene; illustrated by Doug Chayka

“When the Chickens Went on  Strike” by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Matthew Trueman

Marcia E. Levine Congregation Kol Chadash, Solon

“Even Higher! A Rosh Hashanah Story”

“New Year at the Pier: a Rosh Hashanah Story”

“Magic of Kol Nidre,” a Yom Kippur story by Bruce H, Siegel

“Gershon’s Monster: A Story for the Jewish New Year”

“Sound the Shofar,” a story of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Leslie Kimmelman

“For Sukkot, I Love Night Lights” by Barbara Diamond Goldin

R. Raphael Simon B’nai Jeshurun Congregation, Pepper Pike

“Yussel’s Prayer: A Yom Kippur Story” by Barbara Cohen. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard, 1981.

“Engineer Ari and the Rosh Hashanah Ride” by Deborah Bodin Cohen. Kar-Ben Publishing, 2008.

“How the Rosh Hashanah Challah Became Round” by Sylvia B. Epstein. Gefen, 1993.

“The Hardest Word: A Yom Kippur Story”

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