Many people have been asking for books to read their children to ensure representation of Jewish and Israeli families as well as Palestinian and Muslim families right now. It is important that we keep representation at the forefront of what we do and embrace humanity. With the rise in anti-Semitism and Islamophobia across the country, we believe in teaching and embracing empathy, inclusion, and understanding.
Below is a list of books to ensure your children/students aren’t taking in negative stereotypes about Israelis, Jewish people, Palestinians, or Muslim individuals. Why is this so important? Children now more than ever need to see themselves represented in the books they read. They deserve to see positive representations of themselves. Children who are not Jewish or Palestinian need to see these books to combat the bias and hate they may be hearing.
Books with Palestinian/Muslim representation:
Baba, What Does my Name Mean by Rifk Ebeid is the story of a Palestinian refugee who seeks answers about the meaning of her name from her beloved Baba.
Homeland ; My Father Dreams of Palestine by Hannah Moushabeck is based on a true story. It is about a daughter who sits down each night and listens to stories from her father about Palestine. This intergenerational story embraces the power of love and family.
You are the Color by Rifk Ebeid is another story of a Palestinian refugee who experienced explosion from his homeland and used art to help him process.
These Olive Trees by Aya Ghanameh is the story of a little girl who has to flee her home, but makes a promise to the olive trees that she loves so much that one day she will be back to care for them again.
Halal Hotdogs by by Susannah Aziz is the story of Musa and his family. They enjoy a treat after Jummah prayer at the masjid (mosque). Musa’s favorite is halal hot dogs, but unforeseen obstacles are getting in the way!
Books with Jewish/Israeli representation:
Always an Olivia by Carolivia Herron is the story of a Black Jewish woman who passes along her Jewish family origin story to her granddaughter.
Lilah Tov Goodnight by Ben Gundersheimeris a beautiful Hebrew lullaby that celebrates the importance of family and nature.
Challah Day written by Charlotte Offsay is a celebratory book about a family’s tradition of making challah bread. The book showcases step by step instructions and also includes a recipe so you can make your own.
Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg: We LOVE that this book features a multiethnic home in which their Indian-Jewish family fries dosas for Hanukkah as opposed to latkes. Highlighting various family dynamics during the holidays is such a beautiful way to celebrate all people.
Chik Chak Shabbat by Mara Rockliff is the story of Goldie, who cooks cholent for Shabbat and invites her neighbors to share in the meal. But one week, she’s too sick to cook, so her neighbors take care of the food for the Shabbat meal. It’s a story of a loving community and hospitality.
Everybody Says Shalom by Leslie Kimmelman takes the reader ona tour of Israel while highlighting such sites as the Old City of Jerusalem, modern Tel Aviv, and the Biblical Zoo while introducing the region's diverse cultures and customs.
As a company, we will forever feel committed to being a part of a community. A safe space to grieve, discuss, learn, and grow. We wish for peace for everyone reading this and for all. We will continue to check in on our loved ones during this time and we encourage you to do the same. Be a safe space. This is a time that no human should have to live through or bear witness to.
Please know that we also understand that not all Israeli’s are Jewish and not all Palestinians are Muslim, but in the fight against the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia it is important to specifically highlight both.