Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Four Jewish Folktales in Picture Book Form

We're going to explore diverse folk and fairy tales further this summer, but here are four Jewish folktales in picture book form in honor of May being Jewish American Heritage Month!

The Wooden Sword: A Jewish Folktale from Afghanistan
retold by Ann Redisch Stampler, illustrated by Carol Liddiment

A tale about the benefits of hard work, being clever, and trusting God in difficult circumstances. Includes an author's note on the tale and the research that went into making this book.

Something from Nothing: Adapted from a Jewish Folktale
adapted and illustrated by Phoebe Gilman

A lovely story about reusing, remaking, and letting go.

The Sabbath Lion: A Jewish Folktale from Algeria
retold by Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush, illustrated by Stephen Fieser

A tale about faith, the importance of rest, and doing what's right in the face of difficulty. Includes commentary on the Sabbath, the origins of the tale, and the region it comes from.

It Could Always Be Worse: A Yiddish Folktale
retold and illustrated by Margot Zemach

A funny story that illustrates one's perspective can make all the difference in less than ideal situations.

Do you have any favorite Jewish folktales? We'd love to hear about them in the comments!


  1. I love Joseph had a Little Overcoat by Sims Taback, which is a Yiddish tale. I've also been planning to explore fairy and folk tales this summer so I am really excited to read your recommendations!

    1. Yes, that's a good one and a Caldecott medalist! Are you? Well, let us know if you'd like to work together on anything! We'll be excited to see you recommendations as well :)

    2. When I put together my lists, I'm definitely going to be pointing people in your direction, too and since you are way ahead of me, I'm going to do my best to choose different titles so readers have a maximum # of books to read.

    3. Thanks so much, Erica! We'll be looking forward to reading your lists!