Jewish Novels
for Older Children


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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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Are You Alone on Purpose?
Harry Roth has been Alison Shandling's tormentor for years, taunting her about her autistic twin brother and her own academic brilliance. When the Shandlings decide to introduce their children to their Jewish heritage, Alison and Harry-the rabbi's son-are thrown together under circumstances neither could have imagined. Harry becomes a paraplegic in a diving accident that, Alison feels, may have happened because of her mother's wish that Rabbi Roth's son might become "even more handicapped'' than her own child. She forces Harry to accept her friendship, and the two discover that they have both been emotional cripples for years, at the mercy of their dysfunctional parents. This binds them together, permitting each to let go of the pain of isolation. Alternating chapters related by Alison and Harry carry the story month by month over the course of a year, weaving other aspects of teenage angst into the tapestry of the narrative: Alison's loss of her best friend; the convoluted machinations of the freshman dating scene. The author has taken care to flesh out even minor characters while totally involving readers in the lives of the two main players. While the beginning of a reconciliation between Harry and his father seems a bit facile and the confrontation between Alison and her parents is partially carried out by letters rather than through Werlin's wonderfully strong dialogue, this first novel is a moving portrayal of two remarkable teenagers ably coming to grips with their unhappy circumstances and, one is convinced, triumphing in the end.

Description from School Library Journal

Joshua

By Alan Collins
It is 1967. The Vietnam War is at its height. Joshua and his father Jacob are committed pacifists. On Joshua's twentieth birthday, a chain of events is set in motion which leads him on a journey for identity. While being pursued by the Federal Police and Israeli secret agents, he finds romance, friendship and, perhaps, peace.

Description from Publisher

The Swastika on the Synagogue Door
(A Lazarus Family Mystery)
When a Long Island synagogue is defaced with a swastika and an anti-semitic slogan, a teenage brother and sister try to solve the mystery with the help of their rabbi and a Holocaust survivor.

Description from Publisher

Fitting in
Molly, a young Jewish girl growing up in the early sixties, learns about life through trial and error, confronts anti-Semitism at school and at home.

The Whispering Wind

By Sukey S. Gross
With a sense of pure excitement, Bracha goes to the airport to welcome her cousin Shoshi, who is coming from California to stay with Bracha in Pineville and attend the Rivka Gross Academy High School. At the airport, Shoshi introduces Bracha to Devorah, who is moving to Pineville from Denver and will also be attending the Rivkah Gross Academy High School. But something goes wrong. Devorah's reaction is strange and hostile. Perhaps it was something Bracha said? Bracha isn't sure, but she is left with a feeling of disquiet and foreboding. As it turns out, Devorah becomes Bracha's classmate, and complications follow. But the support of good friends such as Sara and the understanding and wisdom of principals and teachers brings the story to a happy resolution. In The Whispering Wind, Sukey Gross has once again provided her avid readership with a warm and gripping story, full of school spirit and strong Jewish values. The characters who have become familiar to readers in Passport to Russia, The Secret Diary, The Golden Gate and The Silent Summer, the previous books in the series, come to vivid life once again in the pages of The Whispering Wind.

Description from Publisher

Three Merchants And Other Stories
Delightful true tales from around the globe and through the centuries retold by Shaindel Weinbach, beautifully illustrated by Yosef Dershowitz.

Description from Publisher
Keystone Kids
Keystone Kids
Spike and Bob Russell are baseball-playing brothers, toiling in the minor leagues. While playing for the Nashville Volunteers, they get the call they've been dreaming about -- a promotion to the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Major Leagues. But their excitement proves short-lived as they are embroiled in a contretemps surrounding Brooklyn's new Jewish catcher, Jocko Klein. This excellent story, with a subplot of prejudice, discrimination, and their ultimate resolution, written by perhaps the foremost children's sports author of his generation, is sure to captivate young readers.

Description from Children's Literature

Drummers of Jericho
Meyer paints a bracing picture of conservative small-town America in this riveting examination of intolerance and anti-Semitism. Fresh from a year on a kibbutz and sick of endless fights with her Israeli mother, 14-year-old Pazit Trujillo opts to leave her native Denver and live with her college professor father and his young family for a school year. Little knowing what Jericho, "the buckle of the Bible belt,'' is like, Pazitshort, dark, Jewish and nonconformistis alone in a school full of tall blonds who take football and cheerleading as seriously as their Wednesday night prayer meetings. After Pazit refuses to be part of the school marching band's formation of a cross, Mr. Trujillo contacts the ACLU and she is unwillingly catapulted to the center of a cause celbre that has all of Jericho in an uproar. Her schoolmates' coldness turns to outright hostility, but Pazit finds an unexpected ally in the band's drummer, Billy, who "betrays'' his town to stand up for what he believes is right. With its unflagging pace and timely theme, this provocative novel should spark much debate.

The Remembering Box
Nine-year-old Joshua has visited his Grandma Goldina on the Sabbath since he was five. Joshua loves Roy Rogers and other heroes of his day (1942), but he especially loves these times with Grandma. Every week he picks something out of a big trunk this is Grandma's ``remembering box''and each object reminds her of a story of her childhood. Joshua listens in rapt attention to her humorous tales of adventure that evoke ``the old country.'' Then one night Grandma gives Joshua his own box, and in it are some of his favorites from her box. When Grandma does not open her eyes after her reverie, Joshua carries on the tradition of lighting the Sabbath candles before calling his father. Grandma has passed on more than her own memories; she has given him a sense of heritage of his people as well. This warm and loving relationship between a boy and his grandmother is beautifully depicted and reminiscent of Mathis' The Hundred Penny Box (Viking, 1975). Diamond's silhouettes, used for the stories that Grandma tells Joshua, are dramatic, and her meticulously detailed black-and-white illustrations of Joshua and his grandmother are both expressive and moving.

From School Library Journal

The Golem and the Dragon Girl
When Laurel Wangís parents decide to move to a larger house, Laurel is worried: She is secretly convinced that the spirit of her great grand father, which has always protected her, lives in the old house. What will happen when she leaves it? When Jonathanís family moves into the Wang home, there are definitely ghostly goings-on. Jonathanís life is difficult enough, with a new stepfather he canít stand, a dog he didnít really choose, and having to leave his beloved but eccentric uncle Jake. Laurel takes every opportunity to go back to her old house-to try to communicate with her guardian spirit-while Jonathan tries to get his family to let Uncle Jake come and live with them. After a series of frightening episodes involving ghosts, exorcism, and a serious accident, both Laurel and Jonathan discover that answers to their dilemmas lie within their own cultures. Readers too will find fascinating information about both Jewish and Chinese beliefs in this warm and entertaining story by an award-winning author.

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