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October 10, 2015 | 27th Tishrei 5776
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Annotated Bibliography for Adolescents and Young Adults

Scroll through the list or use the jump down menu to browse the following categories for a variety of interesting books and resources:

(Middle School or High School and Young Adult)
(Middle School or High School and Young Adult)
(Middle School or High School and Young Adult)
(Middle School or High School and Young Adult)


Middle School

The Adventures of Jeremy & Heddy Levi (grades 5-8) by Yaffa Ganz
Chronicles the adventures of two Orthodox Jewish siblings

Annie’s Promise (grades 5-8) by Sonia Levitin
Third novel in the Platt family series. A coming-of-age story about Annie, a Jewish girl who attends a Quaker summer camp. While at camp she befriends an African-American girl and is forced to deal with the issue of racism in America.

Broken Bridge (grades 7-10) by Lynne Reid Banks
Sequel to “One More River,” set 25 years later. A young boy is killed by an Arab terrorist, while his cousin is spared. The young girl must face a moral dilemma; whether to identify her cousin’s killer or save the man who intervened to spare her life.

The Chosen (grades 7-adult) by Chaim Potok
Two Jewish boys cultivate a friendship while growing up in New York City in the 1940s. One is the son of an Orthodox Jew with Zionist leanings, and the other is the son of a Hasidic rebbe.

The Cure (grades 5-9) by Sonia Levitin
This story begins in a futuristic Utopia in the year 2407. A young man wishes to be an individual and make music, and is sent back in time to 14th century Germany in order to “cure” his desires. While there he experiences the atrocities of the bubonic plague and the mistreatment of Jews during that period.

Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail (grades 5-8) by Elvira Woodruff
This book is comprised of letters from Austin to his brother Levi.Austin is on a wagon train in 1851 to Oregon where he plans to claim their deceased father’s land, while Levi remains in their home state of Pennsylvania.

Dreams in the Golden Country (grades 4-8) by Kathryn Lasky
Twelve-year old Zipporah writes diary entries about her immigrant family’s first years in New York City in the early 1900s.

The Enemy Has a Face (grades 6-9) by Gloria D. Miklowitz
A 14 year old girl who recently immigrated to Los Angeles from Israel copes with the trauma of trying to find her missing older brother. She becomes friends with a Palestinian student who is able to offer her compassion and support.

Escape from Egypt (grades 6-9) by Sonia Levitin
The story of the Exodus told from the point of view of Jesse, a young Hebrew slave.

Gideon’s People (grades 6-9) by Carolyn Meyer
A Jewish boy is forced to temporarily live with an Amish family due to an injury that renders him unable to travel. He befriends a young Amish boy as they both struggle with the rigidity of their fathers and their religions.

Habibi (grades 5-10) by Naomi Shihab Nye
After her Palestinian-American family moves to Israel, Liyana has trouble adjusting to the Arab culture in Jerusalem. She begins to feel less homesick when she falls in love with a young Jewish boy named Omer. This relationship challenges both their families.

Masada: The Last Fortress (grades 7-adult) by Gloria Miklowitz
This historically based novel is told from the perspective of Simon Ben Eleazar, the son of a prominent Jewish leader. Simon recounts the story of the Jews’ last stand.

My Name is Asher Lev (grades 7-adult) by Chaim Potok
A young man struggles between choosing the secular world of an artist or the religious life of a Hasidic Jew.

One Foot Ashore (grades 5-8) by Jacqueline Dembare Greene
Two Jewish sisters are kidnapped in Portugal in the mid-1600s, and taken to Brazil to work as slaves. They manage to escape and stow away on ships with two divergent routes, one to Amsterdam, and one to America.

One More River (grades 4-7) by Lynne Reid Banks
A Canadian family moves to Israel in the 1960s to live on a border kibbutz. Adjusting to this new life is especially difficult for Lesley, who eventually befriends an Arab boy named Mustapha.

The Promise (grades 7-adult) by Chaim Potok
Sequel to The Chosen. One man has chosen to lead the live of a scholar and the other has chosen the path of a healer.

The Secret of Space Scrolls & Cholent (grades 4-7)by Gideon March
This novel is made up of two stories, the first of which deals with the capture of a Jewish symbol by space aliens. In the second story, a Jewish food, cholent, is used to ward off an alien spaceship.

Silver Days (grades 6-9) by Sonia Levitin
Sequel to Journey to America. Set in the 1940s in New York City, where the Platt family emigrated from Germany. This book discusses the difficulties of assimilating in America

The Star and the Sword (grades 4-7) by Pamela Melnikoff
After a massacre of Jews in England, two orphans search for an uncle they have never met. Along the way they have numerous adventures, including meeting Robin Hood.

The Storyteller’s Beads (grades 5-8) by Jane Kurtz
Set in the mid-1980s during the Ethiopian exodus to the Sudan. This book details the experiences of two girls, one Christian and one Jewish, who help each other along the journey.

The Violin Players (grades 7-10) by Eileen Bluestone-Sherman
Melissa Jensen, a native New Yorker, moves to the Midwest with her family. While there she encounters anti-Semitism and falls in love with a fellow musician.

High School & Young Adult

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
Set in New York and Prague during WWII, this novel introduces two misfit young men who make it big by creating comic book superheroes.

Birdland (grades 7-10) by Tracy Mack
A young boy tries to cope with the death of his older brother. By making a film of his neighborhood, he is forced to deal with painful memories while at the same time learning more about his brother’s life.

Bread Givers: A Struggle Between a Father of the Old World & A Daughter of the New World by Anzia Yezierska
The story of an immigrant family living in Manhattan in the 1920s. Sara Smolinsky, the daughter of an Orthodox rabbi, struggles for independence and self-fulfillment.

The Coffee Trader by David Liss
A thriller set in 17th century Amsterdam in the Portuguese Jewish immigrant community

Collected Stories by Saul Bellow
A collection of 13 classic short stories written by Nobel laureate Saul Bellow

The Complete Stories by Bernard Malamud
Collection of 54 short stories written by a renowned Jewish author

As a Driven Leaf by Milton Steinberg
A historically based fictional tale of the Talmudic sage, Elisha ben Abuyah. During the Roman occupation of Israel in the 70s CE, he struggles between accepting Judaism and embracing Hellenism.

The Dybbuk & Other Writings by S. Ansky
A collection of modern Yiddish literature, including the classic folk tale drama, “The Dybbuk.”

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
An allegory of the story of Adam and Eve and the rivalry of Cain and Able, this novel follows the lives of two families, the Trasks and the Hamiltons.

Exodus by Leon Uris
Historical fiction of the persecution of Jews in Europe, their exodus to Palestine, and the creation of the modern Israeli state

The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
A Jewish handyman is wrongly accused of murdering a young Christian boy in Russia during the highly anti-Semitic period of the 1910s in Kiev.

The Ghost of Hannah Mendes by Naomi Ragen
Two daughters of Catherine da Costa are sent on a journey to search for missing pages of a missing about how their ancestor’s life during the Inquisition

Great Jewish Short Stories edited by Saul Bellow
A collection of 29 stories by both ancient and modern authors, including Sholom Aleichem, Isaac Bebel, and S.Y. Agnon

Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow
A successful author struggles with the memories of his dead mentor and becomes involved with a shady gangster.

Hunting Midnight by Richard Zimler
Set in Portugal in the early 19th century, this novel tells the story of a young man who has lived through many tragedies. He eventually befriends an African healer, who himself is a freed slave. This novel discusses the difficulties faced by Jews in the Iberian Peninsula during this time in history.

Jewish Stories One Generation Tells Another retold by Peninnah Schram
Jewish folk stories from around the world

Peony by Pearl S. Buck
This novel takes place in the largest Jewish colony in China, and tells the story of Peony, a Chinese maid who serves a Chinese-Jewish family. The issues of Jewish assimilation and identity in China are discussed throughout this novel.

Real Time (grades 8-12) by Pnina Moed Kass
This novel details the events surrounding a bus bombing in Jerusalem. The story is told from the perspectives of numerous characters, including soldiers, tourists and the bomber himself.

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Retelling of the Biblical life of Dinah, Jacob’s daughter, and her experiences with her mother and the other three wives of Jacob in the red tent, where women go during times of birth, menses, and illness.

The Road to Fez by Ruth Knafo Setton
Brit Lek, a Sephardic Jew living in America, returns to her birthplace of Morocco to fulfill her mother’s last wish. This novel offers a captivating description of the world of Sephardic Jewry in Morocco during the 20th century.

Seven Blessings: A Novel by Ruchama King
A tale of two modern-day matchmakers in Jerusalem. Each of them attempts to arrange marriages for Americans who have recently made aliyah.

The Source by James Michener
Historical fiction from the beginning of Jewish history through modern times


Middle School

Alan and Naomi (grades 5-8) by Myron Levoy
Naomi, a young refugee from Nazi occupied France, moves to New York, where she befriends a young boy named Alan.

Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl (grades 5+) by Anne Frank
A Diary written by a young girl who was in hiding for two years in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam.

Behind the Bedroom Wall (grades 5-8) by Laura E. Williams
Korinna, a member of a Nazi youth group, discovers that her parents are hiding Jews behind her bedroom wall. She then struggles with her loyalty to both Hitler and her family.

Daniel Half-Human and the Good Nazi (grades 7+) by David Chotjewitz
A young German boy who aspires to join Hitler's cause discovers his mother is Jewish. In light of this revelation, his family struggles with the decision to leave their homeland.

The Devil’s Arithmetic (grades 5-8) by Jane Yolen
12-year-old Hannah is transported back to a 1940's Polish village, where she experiences the Holocaust as her family did. This book has been made into a film that is also appropriate for this age group.

Flying Against the Wind (grades 6-10) by Ina R. Friedman
A biography of a young German woman who was executed in 1943 for her participation in the Nazi-resistance movement.

Good Night, Maman (grades 5-9) by Norma Fox Mazer
This novel presents the story of Karin and Marc Levi, two French Jews who lived under Nazi occupation. After hiding in a neighbor’s attic for a year, the two siblings and their mother were forced to go on the run. The children escaped to America but were forced to leave their mother behind.

Grace in the Wilderness: After the Liberation 1945-1948 (grades 8+) by Aranka Siegal
Sequel to Upon the Head of a Goat. After being liberated from the concentration camp, Piri and her sister make a life for themselves in Sweden and then move on to America.

Halinka (grades 5+) by Mirjam Pressler
Set in a German orphanage for girls after WWII, this story follows the daily life of Halinka, an abused girl, who reveals many secrets about her past and hopes for her future.

Hana’s Suitcase: A True Story (grades 5-8) by Karen Levine
This book is set in two time periods, the Holocaust and present day. The curator of the Holocaust Education Center in Japan acquired Hana’s suitcase and wanted to learn more about the girl who owned the luggage. He was able to locate her older brother, a Holocaust survivor, who shared stories about her life and experiences.

Journey to America (grades 6+) by Sonia Levitin
A chronicle of the Platt family’s struggle to escape Nazi Germany. Mr. Platt escapes to America in the hopes of starting a new life for his family. Mrs. Platt and her two daughters escape to Switzerland, where they endure many hardships. Finally, the family is reunited in America.

Memories of Anne Frank: Reflections of a Childhood Friend (grades 4-7) by Alison Leslie Gold
Stories about Anne told by a childhood friend.

Number the Stars (grades 5-9) by Lois Lowry
A fictional tale based on the true story of the evacuation of Jews from Denmark during the Nazi occupation. This story recounts the experiences of a ten-year old girl who tries to save her best friend’s life.

Smoke & Ashes: The Story of the Holocaust (grades 6+) by Barbara Rogasky
Non-Fiction book that details various facts concerning the Holocaust. Discusses recently revealed information about the ghettos, concentration camps, non-Jewish victims and the Nazis.

Upon the Head of a Goat: A Childhood in Hungary, 1939-1944 (grades 7-adult) by Aranka Siega
A young girl sees the effects of the Nazi occupation in Hungary and the Ukraine.

Waiting for Anya (grades 4-7) by Michael Morpurgo
A young Christian man helps an older Jewish man hide children from the Nazis so that the family may escape to neighboring Spain.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (grades 4-7) by Judith Kerr
A Jewish family narrowly escapes Germany in the early 1930s, before the Nazis begin sending Jews to concentration camps. The family continues to outrun the Nazis, moving from Switzerland to France, and finally to England.

Who was the Woman Who Wore the Hat? (grades 4+) by Nancy Patz
A novel that speculates about the owner of a hat found in the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam.

High School and Young Adult

The Accident by Elie Wiesel
A Holocaust survivor steps in front of a speeding car. Was it an accident or attempted suicide? This novel details the psychological effects of the atrocities he experienced in the past, as well as the relationships and problems that are a part of his present.

All But My Life: A Memoir by Gerda Weissman Klein
Presents the true story of Gerda Weissman Klein’s life before the Nazi-occupation, her six years in captivity, and her rescue by an American soldier who would become her husband.

The Avengers by Rich Cohen
Recounts the story of a group of Jews who resisted and fought against the Nazis in the Lithuanian forests and ghettos. After World War II, they continued to fight for Israeli independence.

Bridge to Freedom (grades 8-10) by Isabel R. Marvin
A deserter from the Nazi Army and a Jewish girl work together as they attempt to cross the border into Belgium.

Dawn by Elie Wiesel
An Israeli freedom fighter, who is also a Holocaust survivor, struggles with the moral implications of assassinating a British officer.

Flying Against the Wind (grades 6-10) by Ina R. Friedman
biography of a young German woman who was executed in 1943 for her participation in the Nazi-resistance movement.

The Forgotten by Elie Wiesel
A Holocaust survivor with impending memory loss sends his son on the task of researching past events, interviewing old acquaintances, and recording the memories that remain. 

Hannah Senesh: Her Life and Diary by Hannah Senesh
True story of this national hero of Israel. In 1939, 18-year old Hannah moves from Hungary to Palestine and joins a kibbutz. She becomes a paratrooper and is captured on a mission to warn the Jews she left behind in Hungary, including her mother.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly…by Hana Volavkova
A collection of poems and pictures from the children imprisoned at Terezin from 1942-1944.

Malka by Mirjam Pressler
As a Jewish family escapes from Nazi-occupied Poland, Malka, the youngest daughter, becomes ill and is left behind until she is well and her family is safe. She is them forced to fend for herself among strangers and is in constant fear of being caught by the Nazis.

Maus I & II by Art Spiegelman
This Pulitzer Prize winning “comic book” features mice, cats, dogs, frogs, and pigs as the major groups during the Holocaust. The author tells the story of his father’s experiences in Nazi-occupied Europe and German concentration camps.

Mila 18 by Leon Uris
Historical fiction chronicling the Nazi-occupation of Poland and the Warsaw ghetto uprising

Milkweed (grades 8-12) by Jerry Spinelli
A naïve orphan in Nazi-occupied Warsaw knows nothing of his background and decides to become a gypsy after being convinced by a fellow orphan that was his safest option. He then bands together with a group of orphans to assist others and to help each other survive.

Night by Elie Wiesel
Novel/memoir of a fifteen year-old boy’s experiences in four different concentration camps. He is burdened by the guilt of survival and is plagued by the question of how a benevolent God could allow such atrocities to occur.

QB VII by Leon Uris
A Polish doctor is named as one of the surgeons involved in heinous war crimes during the Holocaust. He subsequently sues the American author who accused him.

Room in the Heart (grades 8-11) by Sonia Levitin
This novel describes life in Copenhagen during the Nazi-occupation and details the Danes courageous resistance against the Nazis.

The Sunflower by Simon Wiesenthal
A recounting of the author’s experiences in a concentration camp, where a dying Nazi soldier asked him for forgiveness for the atrocities he committed against the Jews. The author goes on to discuss the limits of forgiveness.

Under the Domin Tree by Gila Almagor
This book portrays Udim, a youth village in Israel, nine years after WWII. Many of the inhabitants are still struggling with the atrocities they lived through and many continue to hope for their loved ones return. This book has also been made into a film.


Middle School

The Book of Miracles: A Young Person’s Guide to Spirituality (grades 6-8) by Lawrence Kushner
Describes connections between God, Torah, and creation by using storytelling and illustrations.

The First Jewish Catalogue by Michael Strassfeld
A collection of essays on Jewish rituals, customs, and traditions

Tough Questions Jews Ask: A Young Adult’s Guide to Building a Jewish Life (grades 6-10) by Edward Feinstein
Rabbi Feinstein answers difficult questions posed by Jewish young adults about Judaism.

Wonders and Miracles: A Passover Companion (grades 5-8) by Eric A. Kimmel
A compilation that includes stories, songs, art projects and recipes for Pesach.
High School and Young Adult

The Extraordinary Nature of Ordinary Things by Steven Leder
The author uses a poetic style to see God in everyday occurrences.

Finding God: Selected Responses by Rifat Sonsino and Daniel Syme
This book delves into different views of God, from the Bible to Jewish philosophers.

Honey from the Rock: An Easy Introduction to Jewish Mysticism by Lawrence Kushner
An introduction to Jewish Mysticism and how it can be applied to everyday life.

I and Thou by Martin Buber
Philosophical work concerning humans’ relationships with one another and with God

The Invisible Chariot: An Introduction to Kabbalah & Jewish Spirituality by Deborah Kerdeman and Lawrence Kushner
An introduction to Jewish mysticism and finding spirituality in our lives

The Jewish Book of Why by Alfred J. Kolatch
An encyclopedia for Jewish rituals and practices

The Many Faces of God by Rifat Sonsino
Rabbi Sonsino continues where Finding God leaves off, with a brief biography and explanation of the theologies of fifteen modern Jewish thinkers.

When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner
In this commentary on the book of Job, Rabbi Kushner discusses how to cope with pain and suffering.


Middle School

Abraham Joshua Heschel: Man of Spirit, Man of Action (grades 5-8) by Or N. Rose
Biography of the influential Rabbi, educator, and civil rights activist.

Bobbie Rosenfeld: The Olympian Who Could Do Everything (grades 5-8) by Anne Dublin
Biography of the Canadian Olympic star Fanny "Bobbie" Rosenfeld.

Israel: Creation of the Modern Middle East (grades 6-10) by Louise Chipley Slavicek
A history of Israel from ancient to modern times.

The Other 1492: Jewish Settlements in the New World (grade 7-adult) by Norman Finkelstein
Chronicles the Jews’ expulsion from Spain and Portugal and their subsequent immigration to the Americas.

High School and Young Adult

Burnt Bread and Chutney: Growing Up Between Cultures-A Memoir of an Indian Jewish Girl by Carmit Delman
A poignant memoir of an American Jewish girl of Eastern European and Indian descent.

Esther’s Children: A Potrait of Iranian Jews by Houman Sarshar
A compilation of essays on the Jewish community of Iran, which is the oldest Jewish enclave outside of Israel.

The Flying Camel edited by Loolwa Khazzoom
A collection of essays on identity by women of North African and Middle Eastern Jewish heritage

Gold of Exodus by Howard Blum
True account of two Americans’ journey to find Mt. Sinai and the lost treasure of Moses. A suspenseful, fast-paced novel.

Hank Greenberg: The Story of My Life by Hank Greenberg
Autobiography of the great Jewish baseball star, Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg

In the Name of Sorrow & Hope by Noa Ben Artzi-Pelosoff
Memoir of Yitzhak Rabin written by his granddaughter

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World by Avi Shlaim
Written in 2001, this work covers the period from the First Zionist Congress in 1897 until the election of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. The author deals with the “Arab Question,” and how relations between the Arabs and Israelis have fluctuated over time.

Jerusalem by Karen Armstron
Discusses the 5,000-year history of this important city, and details its significance to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century by Martin Gilbert
History of the holy city during the 20th Century

Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy by Jane Leavy
Biography of the famous Jewish baseball player including hundreds of anecdotal interviews

Waging Peace: Israel and the Arabs, 1948-2003 by Itamar Rabinovich
A complete history of Arab-Israeli relations beginning in 1948, written by a renowned scholar and former chief negotiator for Israel. The author provides detailed accounts of the peace process, including information since progress has stalled.

War and Peace in the Middle East: A Concise History by Avi Shlaim
An historical account of the Middle East from World War I until the first Gulf War

Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman by Farideh Goldin
An account of life in twentieth century Shiraz, Iran, told from the perspective of a Jewish woman.

We Just Want to Live Here: A Palestinian Teenager, an Israeli Teenager-An Unlikely Friendship by Amal Rifa'i, Odelia Ainbinder, and Sylke Tempel
The authors, who met in Switzerland during a student exchange program in 2000, exchanged letters that have been collected in this book.

Who are the Jews of India? By Nathan Katz
Historical account of Jewish groups in this 2000 year old diaspora community.

The Yom Kippur War: The Epic Encounter that Transformed the Middle East by Abraham Rabinovich
Account of the 1973 Yom Kippur War written by a Jerusalem Post correspondent. This account details the Egyptian and Syrian surprise attack plan, as well as the events that led to the turnaround of the war and the subsequent Israeli victory.


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