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Important YA Books to Read for Jewish Heritage Month

May was designated Jewish Heritage Month in 2006 by presidential proclamation. Here are eight important YA books that commemorate Jewish history, heritage, and culture to add to your TBR pile. To learn more, visit the National Museum of American Jewish History.

Alma Presses Play

Alma Presses Play

A lyrical novel-in-verse that takes us through the journey of coming of age in New York during the 80s.

Alma's life is a series of halfways: She's half-Chinese, half-Jewish; her parents spend half the time fighting, and the other half silent; and she's halfway through becoming a woman. But as long as she can listen to her Walkman, han...

Anna and the Swallow Man

Anna and the Swallow Man

“[A] splendid debut novel. . . . This is masterly storytelling.” —The New York Times
 
Set in Poland during the Second World War, Anna and the Swallow Man is a stunning, literary, and wholly original New York Times bestseller and Publishers Weekly

The Assignment

The Assignment

Inspired by a real-life incident, this riveting novel explores discrimination and antisemitism and reveals their dangerous impact. Would you defend the indefensible?

The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition)

The Book Thief (Anniversary Edition)

This anniversary edition of the extraordinary #1 New York Times bestseller features pages of bonus content, including marked-up manuscript pages, original sketches, and pages from the author's writing notebook.

“Life-changing.” —The New York Times

 
When Death has a story to tell, you li...

A Cloud of Outrageous Blue

A Cloud of Outrageous Blue

For fans of Fever 1793 comes the story of a young woman paving her own path and falling in love during the Great Plague of 1348, from the award-winning creator of What the Night Sings.

Edyth grew up in a quiet village with a loving family, before losing everything she holds dear in the blink of an eye. Suddenly se...

Color Me In

Color Me In

A powerful coming-of-age novel, pulled from personal experience, about the meaning of friendship, the joyful beginnings of romance, and the racism and religious intolerance that can both strain a family to the breaking point and strengthen its bonds.

Growing up in an affluent suburb of New York City, sixteen-year-old Nevaeh Levitz nev...

It's a Whole Spiel

It's a Whole Spiel

By Array

Includes a special introduction by Mayim Bialik, star of The Big Bang Theory and author of the #1 bestseller Girling Up!

Get ready to fall in love, experience heartbreak, and discover the true meaning of identity in this poignant collection of short stories about Jewish teens, including entries by David Levitha...

A Light in the Darkness

A Light in the Darkness

From National Book Award Finalist Albert Marrin comes the moving story of Janusz Korczak, the heroic Polish Jewish doctor who devoted his life to children, perishing with them in the Holocaust.

Janusz Korczak was more than a good doctor. He was a hero. The Dr. Spock of his day, he established orphanages run on his principle of honorin...

This Rebel Heart

This Rebel Heart

A tumultuous tale of the student-led 1956 Hungarian revolution—and an all too timely look at the impact of Communism and the USSR in Eastern Europe—set in a fabulist, colorless post-WWII Budapest from Sydney Taylor Honor winner Katherine Locke.
 
“A haunting, beautiful read that centers queer Jewish charact...

The Way Back

The Way Back

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST and a SYDNEY TAYLOR NOTABLE BOOK, now in paperback! A sweeping historical fantasy that follows two teens on a perilous journey through the Far Country, a Jewish land of spirits and demons. Perfect for readers of Neil Gaiman and Philip Pullman. 

For the Jews of Eastern Europe, demons are eve...

What the Night Sings

What the Night Sings

A Morris Award Finalist
Longlisted for the National Book Award

For fans of The Book Thief and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas comes a lushly illustrated novel about a teen Holocaust survivor who must come to terms with who she is and how to rebuild her life.

"A tour de force. This powerful story of lov...

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