Jewish Biographies for Children:


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Mordechai Anielewicz:
Hero of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

By Kerry P. Callahan
Young readers may not be aware of any cases of Jews fighting back. In fact, there was a substantial youth movement whose members were willing to sacrifice their own lives in order to launch a resistance movement against the Nazis. This book examines the life and death of Mordechai Anielewicz, a young Jew who led armed resistance struggles against Nazi captors.

Description from Publisher

Menachem Begin

By Virginia Brackett
Israel’s most well-known leader, Menachem Begin was a fierce defender of the new nation. He longed for the united Israel of ancient times, and fought for more than 30 years for that vision. He was awarded the Nobel peace prize for his role in reaching the Camp David Accord with Anwar Sadat, and is seen by many as a man of vision.

Description from Publisher

Ben-Gurion :
Builder of Israel

By Robert St. John
A biography of the first prime minister of Israel, with a section that presents Ben-Gurior in his own words.

Description from Publisher

Moe Berg :
The Spy Behind Homeplate
For Middle Readers, this Exciting Biography will Thrill!

A major league baseball player fluent in nine languages, an Ivy League scholar, and an attorney, Moe Berg led a life of mystery & intrigue as a top secret spy who helped the United States win the race against Nazi Germany to build the atomic bomb. Moe Berg used baseball as a cover to make significant intelligence contributions to the United States.

Dedscription from Publisher

The Amazing Life of Moe Berg :
Catcher, Scholar, Spy
Moe Berg may not be familiar to modern audiences, but they will be intrigued to learn about his life. The son of Jewish immigrants, Berg got himself to Princeton, but he never lost his love of baseball, and his career in the major leagues spanned 16 years. He was also a lawyer, a talented linguist, and a world traveler. Those skills brought him to the attention of the U.S. government, which decided Berg could help his country with some important missions during World War II. He spent the war culling information from European scientists about the nuclear bomb. Although his work as a spy was invaluable, Berg drifted after the war, never really holding a job or even having his own home again. The book is crisply written, and the subject will make an excellent alternative to the usual cast of characters on biography shelves. Despite problems she discusses in the introduction, Andryszewski does a good job of sourcing her material. Illustrated with black-and-white photos.

Description from Booklist

Say It With Music :
A Story About Irving Berlin
This vividly written book is at once the story of the famous composer and of an early 20th-century immigrant's experience. Streissguth clearly paints a picture of New York's Lower East Side and of the milieu in which Israel Baline developed into the songwriter, Irving Berlin. It's an intriguing story, and one that Streissguth makes readable and enjoyable. By describing the components of Berlin's successful songs, readers gain an understanding of the popular music business of the time. Hagerman's black-and-white sketches enhance the text with excellent likenesses of the subject, as well as with contemporary scenes.

Description from School Library Journal

Leonard Bernstein :
A Passion for Music
When Leonard Bernstein died, a fellow composer wondered whether he had died too young but concluded that since Bernstein actually had led four lives at once, he was not 72, but 288 years old at his death. Hurwitz acquaints readers with all four of Bernstein's lives (conductor, composer, pianist, teacher) and more as she surveys his energetic, musically charged life. She notes how good fortune played a pivotal role in Bernstein's fate--he inherited a piano, his first instrument, from his aunt when he was 10; mere months after assuming the position of assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, he gained public notice when he was called to take the baton for the guest conductor who was ill. However, Hurwitz makes it clear that Bernstein's determination and talent propelled his career. His Jewish heritage also is shown to have inspired many of his compositions and to have been a powerful motivating factor throughout his life. Lisker's black-and-white drawings dramatically complement Hurwitz's readable, informative biography.

Description from Booklist

Leonard Bernstein :
Composer and Conductor

(Ferguson's Career Biography Series)

By Jean F. Blashfield
Although he grew up without music in his home, Leonard Bernstein became America’s greatest twentieth-century musician. He had music in his soul, and it came out in many ways. During his life, he composed classical music for orchestras and popular music for Broadway shows, conducted symphony orchestras, introduced television audiences to great works of music, and taught and wrote about music. Leonard Bernstein’s influence on music led to a new, worldwide respect for American musicians.

... The only Jewish musicians that Bernstein’s parents had known in their childhood in the Ukraine were the wandering musicians called klezmers. Many people looked down on these people, and Sam was appalled at the idea that his son would become like them. He was afraid Leonard would end up poor, playing piano in a cocktail lounge somewhere ...

Description from Publisher

Leonard Bernstein : In Love with Music

By Caroline Evensen Lazo
The composer of Broadway hits such as West Side Story and Candide, Leonard Bernstein knew from the first moment he touched a piano that he wanted to make music his life's work. Through years of hard work, dedication, and fun, Leonard became one of America's most influential composers and conductors. His intense passion and brilliance for composing, playing, and conducting music inspired numerous people around the world to discover what Leonard already knew--that music was an expression of love.

Description from Publisher

Numerous black-and-white photos, including one of Bernstein as a teenage camp counselor in 1937 conducting preteen members of a band, enhance this biography about a remarkable man who devoted himself to music. Six years after that photo was taken, Bernstein took the musical world by storm when he filled in for the ailing conductor of the New York Philharmonic. Lazo tells a vigorous story about the many obstacles that Bernstein had to overcome on his path to success, as well as the amazing accidents that led him to a career in music, rather than to a sales position in his father's beauty-supply firm. Bernstein's creative range, which encompassed composing, conducting, writing, and educating through TV, comes clear in this intriguing life story, which is just right for young people with an interest in classical music and conducting or writing it.

Description from Booklist

Leonard Bernstein
(Getting to Know the World's Greatest Composers)

By Mike Venezia
A brief biography of the talented composer, conductor, and musician known for his television series, Young People's Concerts.

Description from Publisher

Leonard Bernstein :
All-American Musician

by Marlene Toby

(out of print)
Young children can now enjoy a biography series written just for them. "Rookie Biographies" introduce the beginning reader to interesting people who helped shape history. With short, easy-to-understand text, historical photos, and eye-catching illustrations, these introductory biographies will motivate children into wanting to learn more about noted individuals. Each book includes a index.

Examines the life and career of the famous composer, conductor, pianist, and teacher.

Description from Publisher

Louis Brandeis:
The People's Justice
Louis Brandeis put the needs of the individual before the interest of government and big business. The first Jew to be nominated to the Supreme Court, he supported free speech, social reform and the right to privacy. He was known, informally, as "adviser to presidents." In addition, it was his support of the Zionism Movement that influenced American Jews to support it.

Description from Publisher

Stephen Breyer
(U.S. Supreme Court Library)

By Paul J. Deegan
Provides details in the life and career of jurist Stephen Breyer and his nomination to the Supreme Court.

Description from Publisher

My Town, Sad and Joyous

Chagall Stained Glass Coloring Book

By Marty Noble
Russian-born French painter Marc Chagall (1887-1984), renowned for his poetic and exuberant style, is especially well regarded for his stained glass designs. For this appealing coloring book, Marty Noble has adapted 16 of Chagall's finest stained glass works, including I and the Village, The Cellist, Bride and Groom with Eiffel Tower, Equestrienne, The Green Violinist, and Girl on Horseback. When colored with crayons, felt-tip pens, or paints and placed near a source of bright light, these magnificent designs will glow with stained glass effects sure to delight coloring book fans, art lovers, and admirers of this renowned artist.

Description from Publisher

Story of Reb Yosef Chaim

By Shlomo Zalman Sonnenfeld
Recounts the stories of everyday people, some famous and some unknown, who lived in Jerusalem during the last hundred years.

Description from Publisher

Henry Cohen: The Life of a Frontier Rabbi

By Jimmy Kessler
Following a childhood in London, Rabbi Cohen served a number of years in Africa and Jamaica and his final sixty two years in Galveston, Texas.

Description from Publisher

Captain of Innocence: France & the Dreyfus Affair

By Norman H. Finkelstein

  • Listed in Books for the Teenage, New York Public Library
  • 1991 NCCS/CBS Notable Children's Trade Book

Captain of Innocence surveys the life, multiple trials, imprisonment, and eventual release of the Jewish French army officer accused of spying for the Germans. The Dreyfus Affair profoundly affected France and the world at the turn of the twentieth century. Despite his innocence, Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew, was the victim of rampant anti-Semitism. He was found guilty of treason through the use of contrived evidence and sentenced to life imprisonment on Devil's Island.

Description from Publisher

Bob Dylan: Voice of a Generation

By Jeremy Roberts
Born Bobby Zimmerman in the small town of Hibbing, Minnesota, Bob Dylan overcame many obstacles to become one of the most revered musicians of his time. Throughout his lifetime he has achieved success in almost every genre of music from folk, to rock, to country, to religious ballads. Though he has written over 500 songs, he is best known for his folk-rock protest songs of the 1960s. His songs were filled with such insight and feeling that he became known as the poet prophet and was a role model to many young people of that generation. They felt that he represented a new view of the world—a voice of change, calling for justice and individual freedom.

Description from Publisher

Bob Dylan

By Susan Richardson
Bob Dylan has profoundly shaped the course of popular music. Since the beginning his career in 1960, he has been seen as a poet, a political activist, a consummate musician, a wanderer, and a mystery.

Description from Publisher

Ordinary Genius :
The Story of Albert Einstein
The descriptions of young Albert's difficulties in school, which will enthrall young readers, embody what the author does particularly well throughout this book--depict Einstein as a person both like and unlike others. Without trivializing Einstein's genius, McPherson lets readers feel the great scientist's excitement and frustration with his work. Explanations of Einstein's scientific discoveries are clearly presented, as is the social context of Germany between the wars and during the Nazi years. Photographs of Einstein, including one of him at age five, are well chosen to leave some new visual memories of the famous face. McPherson provides readers with a strong impression of an independent mind at work--so strong, in fact, that children may wish they could have met the genius. That's high praise for a biography.

Description from Booklist

A fascinating close-up of the original absentminded professor, this book is a heartwarming account of someone to whom ideas were the most important things, and everything else was on the fringes. Einstein's well-known difficulties in school, shyness, inability to concentrate on anything which didn't interest him, and careless personal grooming are set in their proper place as eccentricities of a true genius whose mind was ceaselessly searching for more esoteric answers. The author takes special care with the often-ignored difficulties caused by the scientist's Jewish ancestry during the Nazi era and traces with great sensitivity the emergence of his pride in his people and the State of Israel. A wonderful biography for anyone, especially those interested in science.

Description from Children's Literature

Ask Albert Einstein

By Lynne Barasch
  • Natural History Magazine Best Books of the Year
  • Parents' Choice Award Winner

    A delightful story based on an article in the New York Times in 1952. Seven-year-old April idolizes her 15-year-old sister, Annabel, who can do almost anything but has trouble with math. The teen's teacher has given her one last chance to earn a decent grade by solving a particularly difficult problem. When Annabel cries, Who does she think I am, Albert Einstein? April's curiosity and compassion for her sister result in a surprising solution to the whole dilemma, as well as to the math problem. After doing a little research about the famous scientist's life, she decides to write him a letter describing her sister's situation. He responds in an unusual, but ultimately helpful way. According to an author's note, Einstein really did find the time to go over equations with children who asked for assistance. Barasch provides a refreshing mix of genres and subjects that will appeal to many readers. The nostalgic cartoon illustrations and numerous quotes from the international figure add charm to this enchanting tale.

    Description from School Library Journal

    This charming picture book biography will engage young readers in the life of the brilliant scientist. Albert Einstein would frequently answer children's arithmetic, which became the basis for a New York Times article in 1952. In this fictionalized picture book based on that incident, Annabel, a struggling high school student must complete a challenging math problem in order to pass her math class. When her younger sister, April, overhears her exclaim, "Who does [the teacher] think I am, Albert Einstein?", April comes up with an idea. She copies her sister's math problem and mails it to Albert Einstein. Sure enough, a few days later, a letter appears from Einstein. While Einstein doesn't give Annabel the exact answer, he gives her a mathematical hint that helps her figure out the solution on her own. Barasch brings the human side of Albert Einstein to the forefront in this brief snippet of his life. She gives a brief background on Einstein's life to introduce readers who may not be familiar with who he is. A copy of the math problem and solution are also included, although the young readers to whom the story is directed will probably not be able to understand the higher level math problem. The whimsical watercolor-and-ink pictures enhance the lighthearted nature of this story. An excellent choice for elementary school readers.

    Lori's Description

  • Albert Einstein

    By Stephanie Sammartino McPherson
    Albert Einstein is considered a genius by most people, but when he was young, he was expelled from school! He eventually completed his education and went on to realize his dreams of becoming a science professor. Famous for his wild hair, rumpled clothing, and the brilliant ideas that won him the Nobel Prize, Einstein discovered several scientific theories about space, time, gravity, matter, and energy. His ideas became known as the Theories of Relativity, two of the most important and complex theories in science.

    Description from Publisher

    Albert Einstein :
    Young Thinker
    All children know who Albert Einstein grew up to be--but what was he like as a child? The clear text in this book is enhanced by illustrations and paintings, documents and photographs from the Smithsonian and the National Gallery.

    Description from Publisher

    People Who Made History:
    Albert Einstein

    By Clarice Swisher
    Albert Einstein developed theories in the first decades of the twentieth century that overturned a two-hundred-year-old view of the universe and changed the course of physics. This anthology chronicles the influences on Einstein's development as a scientist, his work in physics, his fame and espoused causes, and his work in America.

    Description from Publisher

    The World in the Time of Albert Einstein

    By Fiona MacDonald
    Possibly the most intelligent man of our time, little is known about the personal man. Learn more about the real Einstein in this book.

    Description from Publisher

    Albert Einstein: Genius Behind the Theory of Relativity

    By Fiona MacDonald
    Albert Einstein is one of the most famous scientists that has ever lived. During his time, he was an international celebrity with great influence. Like Isaac Newton before him, Einstein profoundly changed our understanding of the world with his theories of how the universe is structured.

    His Theory of Relativity -- which put forth new ways to measure time and space -- affected nearly every field of science. Einstein also made major breakthroughs in the field of quantum mechanics, which deals with sub-atomic particles such as electrons, protons, and neutrons. His work in this area eventually led to the creation and utilization of the first atomic bomb.

    Description from Publisher

    Each book in the Giants of Science series presents the life and work of a famous scientist, social scientist, or inventor. The illustrations, many in color, include period photographs, drawings, and paintings, as well as artifacts and documents. Though fairly short, the discussions are coherent and well organized ... Albert Einstein describes the physicist's childhood, education, revolutionary theories, personal life, political outlook, and international awards. Each book ends with a discussion of the scientist's legacy, a chronology, a glossary, and a brief list of resources.

    Description from Booklist

    Albert Einstein :
    Physicist and Genius

    By Joyce Goldenstern
    Albert Einstein was a fascinating individual. As a child, he did poorly in school, partly because he did not respond to the structured German education. . . . Not until many years later was his genius appreciated. This book helps the reader understand some of the concepts Einstein introduced to the world. . . . Young readers will find this book quite useful. . . . The biographicalinformation is briefer than that in Karin Ireland's Albert Einstein, which isintended for a slightly older audience.

    Description from Science Books & Films

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