Jewish children’s books seem to be divided into three sections: Hanukkah, Passover and Everything Else. Doing a search on Amazon for “Hanukkah” under children’s books reveals over 400 books, while a search for Tu B’Shevat gets 12 hits and none are actually about Tu B’Shevat. The lesson of this story is that finding good options to read our students and children can be difficult. So I took a look at my local synagogue library and brought home a handful, well the only, books about Tu B’Shevat for young children. From my sample these were my top three recommendations for Tu B’Shevat books to read to your class.
Happy Birthday, Tree! A Tu B’Shevat Story by Madelyn Rosenberg
Happy Birthday, Tree! is the story of a young girl named Joni that searches to find the best gift to give her favorite tree on its birthday. Intended for children in preschool through early elementary, this story is adorable and imaginative. I read it to my third graders who enjoyed the quirky tale about a girl who thought she could make her tree happy with a big soil cupcake. The illustrations, done by Jana Christy, are whimsically realistic using lots of earth tones and muted colors. This is for sure one I’d like to add to my personal collection.
Thank You, Trees! by Gail Langer Karwoski
This board book is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers and it is a sweet book told in rhyming verse. Encouraging children to plant trees, maintain them and recycle. With sweet illustrations this is a wonderful choice for the littlest students.
The Apple Tree’s Discovery by Peninnah Schramm
This book isn’t written specifically for Tu B’Shevat but The Apple Tree’s Discovery is an imaginative tale about an apple tree who just wants to have stars in its branches. The whole moral of the story is that we have to look deep inside ourselves, and sometimes look from different directions, to find what makes us special. With sweet illustrations this book is perfect for preschools and young elementary students.
Even though the choices for Tu B’Shevat books are limited there are some great resources out there. Along with my top three here are some more options for story time this Tu B’Shevat:
Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid
Solomon and the Trees By Matt Biers-Ariel
Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat by Sylvia A. Rouss
Behold the Trees by Sue Alexander & Leonid Gore
It’s Tu B’Shevat by Edie Stoltz Zolkower
Wishing you and yours a Happy Tu B’Shevat.
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