This post originally ran on Book Riot.
I feel like I should start this post with a disclaimer: I am not Jewish. I married into a Jewish family three years ago and since then it has been a learning experience about Jewish life and culture. One of the more important holidays (possibly the most important one?) in the Jewish calendar is Passover, which commemorates their freedom from enslavement in ancient Egypt. I put together this list for two reasons. One, because it seems like children’s books are all I read these days, and I thought it would be useful to have some good books about Passover for children and babies to read to my toddler daughter both now and when she gets older. And two, these books were an excellent reminder to a non-Jew about what Passover is, with some great and fun explanations of the various traditions associated with Passover.
My First Passover by Tomie DePaola
A board book that explains in simple terms what Passover is and the various rituals and objects associated with Passover. Great informative book that teaches the basics to little ones (and to adults who aren’t Jewish who married into a Jewish family).
My First Jewish Baby Book by Julie Merberg, illustrated by Beck Feiner
This is a general book about Judaism and not specifically about Passover, but there are some Passover terms in the book (such as P is for Passover!) and this is a very cute and funny board book about Jewish culture.
Passover! by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Erin Eitter Kono
This is a cute book written in rhyme that explains the traditions of Passover by following the Passover celebration of one (fictional) family. There is a bit more detail about Passover than My First Passover and it is a good general overview of the occasion.
The Best Four Questions by Rachelle Burk, illustrated by Melanie Florian
A funny, cute, and informative book about the four questions, an element of the Passover meal where the youngest person at the table asks four questions about why this night is different from other nights. This year is Marcy’s turn to ask the four questions and she has some great questions — but they aren’t quite the ones traditionally asked. This book is my favourite of all of these Passover books.
A Sweet Passover by Leslea Newman, illustrated by David Slonim
A book about one of the foods eaten at Passover, matzah, which is unleavened bread (eaten because when the Jews were granted freedom they had to leave in such a rush that they couldn’t wait for the bread to rise). This book does explain the main concepts of Passover but the focus is on matzah and the different ways to eat it — and how one of the best ways of eating it is in the form of matzah brei, which is like French toast made with matzah. My second favourite of the ones on this list.
Passover Scavenger Hunt by Shanna Silva, illustrated by Miki Sakamoto
This book is about another aspect of Passover, hiding the afikomen. This year, instead of Great-Uncle Harry hiding the afikomen, Rachel does it, and she sends her cousins on a scavenger hunt to find the clues and eventually the afikomen. The different clues explain the various components of the seder plate and why they are there.
More Than Enough: A Passover Story by April Halprin Wayland, illustrated by Katie Kath
I love the illustrations and style of art in this book. The Passover theme of being freed comes through in the plot with the family rescuing a kitten. The thread running through the whole book is Dayenu, a Passover song that means ‘it would have been enough’. This is a song, a book and an occasion about being grateful for the small things.
Pippa’s Passover Plate by Vivian Kirkfield, illustrated by Jill Weber
This is a very cute Passover book featuring animals instead of humans, so much more like the children’s picture books that I’m used to reading. Pippa the Mouse is preparing for Passover but can’t find her seder plate. She asks her other animal friends for help, finds the plate and in the end they all celebrate Passover together. The story is told in rhyme and there are lovely illustrations — a good option for some of the younger family members at the Passover table.