Jewish Novels
for Older Children

If you wish to purchase any of these books, click on either the title or the book cover to be directed to As a warning, I have put up pictures of the book covers to give you somewhat an idea of the style of each book (I know, I know. "Don't judge a book by its cover") so the pages may load slowly, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

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Intermediate and YA Fiction ... Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9

Jewish Historical Fiction for Middle School and YA Readers... Biblical Era | Middle Ages, Renaissance, and the Spanish Inquisition | Immigration & The American Experience | European History | Holocaust (Page 1) (Page 2) (Page 3) (Page 4) (Page 5) (Page 6) | Israel

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The Secret Files of Lisa Weiss
Lisa Weiss is an Orthodox Jew living in Israel. The women of her family have all been social workers, and she plans to follow in their footsteps, but her father prefers that she keep her options open. When he catches her reading her mother's social-work book instead of doing her homework one too many times, the seventh grader makes a bargain with her dad. She will write case studies of six people in the next six months, including how she helped them and what she learned about herself in the process. If she shows promise, then she will be allowed to pursue her dream. There is nothing new here. The case studies provide a framework to show a variety of disjointed incidents in Lisa's life. The characters are stereotypical (a Holocaust survivor, a Russian immigrant, a bitter girl with divorced parents, a pesky younger sister, etc.). She goes over the cases with her mother and learns an "important lesson" each time. In the end, she realizes that, although she still plans to be a social worker, it is important to do her schoolwork now. An additional purchase.

Description from School Library Journal

Hostage Torah

By Gershon Winkler
Meet Simcha and Moshe, agents of Emes Junior Interpol and two intrepid teens. Moshe, the son of a high-ranking Israeli intelligence officer, with instincts developed on the streets of Tel Aviv and New York, joins forces with Simcha, a Brooklyn rabbi's first-born son, whose talent for logical reasoning has been honed by years of Talmudic study. Together, the dynamic detectives are guided by their Jewish values and ingenuity as they are involved in mystery and danger. A thrilling blend of intrigue, entertainment, and information, this series is a bestseller among teen readers. These mystery books are not only fun, they teach Torah-true hashkafa!

A fanatical band of student militants have stormed the Israeli embassy in a small Islamic nation and are holding thirty-four Jews as hostages. An American student on vacation has a plan that may save them.

Description from Publisher

Champion & Jewboy

By Bruce M. Siegel
Champion & Jewboy are two novellas dealing with anti-Semitism. In Champion, a sixteen-year-old digs into his grandfather’s hidden past. Jewboy features a teenager convicted of vandalizing a synagogue who is transported back through time to witness, and become a participant in, a number of the most famous anti-Semitic events of the twentieth century.

Description from Publisher

Sing Time

By Bruce H. Siegel
'The cantor likes Elvis! But what does Elvis have to do with learning Torah? And does he really think that listening to rock music will make me like Sunday school?'

The protagonist of this new juvenile novel finds the answer to these and other questions in the unlikeliest of places-the office of a cantor, the religious official who leads the singing in Jewish prayer services. The book begins on a gray afternoon. An unnamed ten-year-old boy is wandering the halls of a strange synagogue while his father registers him and his brother for Hebrew school. Suddenly he finds himself in the messiest-and most intriguing-office he has ever seen. And somewhere within this chaos is Cantor Eli Jacobs.

The boy and the cantor talk only once. In the course of their brief conversation, however, they touch on topics as concrete as the words to a Little Richard song and abstract as the nature of time. Cantor Jacobs also helps the boy reconcile one of the most harrowing and problematic stories of the Bible. And through this new interpretation of an old tale, the boy comes to better understand some of the more troubling aspects of his own imperfect family.

The title of this touching story, Sing Time, refers to a phrase the boy sees in a framed picture on Cantor Jacobs' wall. These words -- and their unique message-become part of an unexpected gift from the cantor that steers the boy down a path he might never have taken.

Description from Publisher

Peter and Veronica

By Marilyn Sachs
What happens when your worst enemy becomes your best friend? If you're Peter Wedemeyer and Veronica Ganz, you spend your time exploring the neigborhood, daring each other to do crazy things - and explaining your friendship to your parents. Mrs. Wedemeyer doesn't understand why Peter wants to spend his time with a "troublemaker" like Veronica. She won't even let Veronica in the house. But Peter's mind is made up: He'll fight for his best friend until the bitter end!

Description from Publisher

Curse of the Sorcerer's Bones

By Avraham Shira
Mining the myth and mysticism of the Kabbalist Jewish tradition, Shira has created a gripping work of supernatural horror unique in young adult literature. Fantastic cover art accented with foil stamping entices readers to the spectacular illustrated adventure within.

Description from Publisher

Mendel Rosenbusch:
Tales for Jewish Children

By Ilse Weber
These Czech folktales are the work of a gifted writer who perished at Auschwitz. The title character, a good and wise man, is granted the power by the Almighty to become invisible at will. He uses his talent to help neighbors who are faced with crises and problems. Mendel is especially interested in the poor and children.

Despite the supernatural element, Weber's tales paint a knowing portrait of small-town pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Central Europe. Her characters are multidimensional, interesting, and unpredictable. Their strengths and weaknesses mirror human nature. Her plots are original and filled with humor. The collection is imbued with the traditional Jewish beliefs that people can change for the better, and that doing the right thing for the wrong reason can lead to a more positive motivation. Moral lessons are subtle.

An afterword by translator Hans Fisher describes how these tales were rediscovered and made available to English-speaking children. The author's fate and the fate of the communities about which she wrote lend poignancy to this excellent collection. The cover illustration of an old-fashioned-looking Mendel could deter readers.

Description from School Library Journal

Tales from Old Jerusalem
Great tales about everyday people in Old Jerusalem.

Description from Publisher

A Story A Day:
Tishrei - Cheshvan (Vol 1)

A Story A Day:
Kislev - Teves (Vol 2)

A Story A Day:
Shevat - Adar (Vol 3)

A Story A Day:
Nissan - Iyar (Vol 4)

A Story A Day:
Sivan - Tammuz (Vol 5)

A Story A Day:
Av - Elul (Vol 6)
Stories for every day of the Jewish calendar.

Description from Publisher

Gabriel's Ark
Gabe is born disabled, and his loving Jewish family teaches and supports him. They miss him when he attends a special school during the week, but everyone looks forward to Shabbat, when they welcome him home for the weekend. Then Gabe turns 13; how will he celebrate his Bar Mitzvah? Like many stories about the disabled, this moving chapter book is told through the eyes of a sibling. Gabe's younger sister, Leah, loves her brother, even though she does get impatient with him sometimes, and she worries that he will mess up in public in the synagogue. His difficulties are never minimized, but with the help of his family and an extraordinary rabbi, Gabe says the Bar Mitzvah prayer his way, all by himself, and he is welcomed into the community. With humanity and hope, the story dramatizes the rabbi's message of acceptance, that "each of us is special in our own way, because we are all created in G-d's image."

Description from Booklist

Sarah With an H

By Hadley Irwin
As far as Marti and her girlfriends are concerned, there's no way new girl Sarah is going to become part of their crowd. Nobody's ready to admit jealousy is the reason (Sarah is wealthy, pretty, smart, and plays a mean game of basketball); it's easier to tell themselves that Sarah doesn't fit in because she's Jewish, a sentiment some others in Marti's small town are also voicing. But Sarah also happens to be nice, and that's one of the reasons Marti is having trouble accepting the prevailing opinion. Although the characters here are in high school, this has the feel of a book for a younger readership. The jacket certainly reinforces that perception, and so does the basically uncomplicated nature of the plot. Sarah is too perfect to be real, and the plot is surprisingly low key. Yet Marti's contradictory feelings are convincing enough, and Irwin makes clear the insidious nature of prejudice: when Sarah's action causes the Tigers to lose the championship basketball game, Marti angrily yells, "Jew," then suffers with the knowledge that what they thought has crept into her.

Description from Booklist

An action-packed, tightly woven story. Marti is very comfortable in her small-town life. She loves being on the high school basketball team, helping her mother at the restaurant, and knowing everyone in LaMond. All of that changes when Sarah Irvine and her family move into town. Sarah seems likable; she is smart, pretty, and also a great basketball player. Marti's conflicting feelings about Sarah are further complicated by the fact that many people in town dislike the Irvines because they are Jewish. As Marti gets her first look at prejudice, she tries to make up her own mind. She finds herself pulled in many directions and almost succumbs to peer pressure. Irwin presents a great story that offers realistic, in-depth characters. The book shows females in positive athletic roles. The basketball action adds an element of excitement and moves the plot at a fast pace. The discrimination against Sarah's family is handled smoothly and realistically without being overbearing. The ending will certainly raise some good discussion points and emphasize how easy it is to follow the crowd. Readers will be satisfied with the resolution and will enjoy riding the story through the anger, sympathy, confusion, and excitement that Marti experiences

Description from School Library Journal

Flying With Daniel

By Malky Brailofsky
A young adventurer traps a skyjacker, discovers a 2,000-year-old treasure, returns a lost son to his anxious parents, and more, on his visit to Eretz Yisrael.

Description from Publisher
The Mysterious Visitor
The Mysterious Visitor :
Stories of the Prophet Elijah

By Nina Jaffe
The mysterious visitor of the title is the biblical Elijah, who began his career as a stern prophet and metamorphosed into a benevolent protector and wishgiver in folklore. Jaffe has chosen and adapted eight stories out of the hundreds from all over the Jewish world that contain references to Elijah. Though centered on a biblical prophet, the stories will not be unfamiliar in either structure or substance to young readers. In one tale from France, Elijah comes and offers a choice of wishes to three brothers: riches, wisdom, or a wise and righteous wife. In another piece, set in Morocco, an evil spirit gives the woman the face of a donkey. Each of these engagingly told stories has at its core such values as love of learning, respect for marriage, and the Golden Rule. Illustrator Elivia Savadier provides one full-page pen-and-watercolor illustration, Chagall-like in feeling, for every tale. Adults will be interested in the author's note that gives the derivation of the stories. An informative glossary and a bibliography are also appended.

from Booklist

Death on Sacred Ground

By Harriet K. Feder

  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable Book
  • Children's Literature Choice
  • New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age List

In the deep woods of Pikes Landing, New York, on a Seneca reservation a girl is found murdered with an arrow through her heart. When they hear about the shocking death, Vivi and her father, Rabbi Hartman, find themselves in the middle of a mystery. There they find a violent standoff between the local townsfolk and the Seneca. The death of the girl may not be what it seems, and strange events keep happening. Unsure of who to trust, Vivi searches for the solution to the disturbing death, but finds danger instead!

Description from Publisher

Welcome to the Real World

By Hanoch Teller
A 12-year old Canadian student in New York makes her way back home on her own, learning to cope with the many trials she encounters along the way.

Description from Publisher

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