6 Children’s Books for Passover

img_9535Weekly Trip to the Library

Tonight starts the celebration of Passover. Passover is my favorite Jewish festival that celebrates the freedom attained by the Hebrew people following their exodus from Egypt where they had been slaves for either 430 years or 210 years, depending on the scholarly conclusions one follows. During the Seder tonight children learn the importance of telling and re-telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Here are some Passover books that we didn’t list last year. Consider borrowing them from the library or purchasing them below to prepare children for Passover.

Sammy Spider’s First Passover
By Sylvia A. Rouss

Sammy the Spider’s mother teaches him to make a web when theirs is laid waste by a “monster”a broom being used to ready the Shapiros‘ home for Passover. Though Sammy becomes fascinated by his mother’s explanations of the holiday traditions, he is repeatedly told, “Spiders don’t celebrate Passover. Spiders spin webs.” Following instructions, Sammy completes a new web?and participates in the Shapiro family observance after all. Using cut-paper artwork made festive with cheery patterns, Kahn depicts a contemporary human family (complete with kitty), and a mother-son spider duo reminiscent of Eric Carle’s creations. Though Rouss’s text is lively and informative, her attempts to blend Passover basics with a rudimentary lesson on shapes (the first page terms this “a book of shapes”) become somewhat jumbled and ultimately water down both aspects of the story. Ages 3-7. Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah
By Leslie Kimmelman

The Little Red Hen has gone through various versions and permutations, but surely this is the first time she has a Yiddish accent. Realizing it’s almost Passover, the Little Red Hen says, “Oy gevalt!” She needs matzah for her seder dinner, and that means growing wheat. Horse, Sheep, and Dog are not interested in helping. Harvesting? Again, nope. Milling? “We’re resting.” By now, the Little Red Hen realizes she’s dealing with a bunch of no-goodniks. She bakes the matzah (“according to Jewish law . . . in just eighteen minutes”) and then sets her seder table. Guess who arrives? “What chutzpah!” But then the Little Red Hen remembers the Haggadah’s words: “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Children familiar with Passover will get a kick out of this, and the ink-and-watercolor art amusingly captures both the Little Red Hen’s aggravation and the animals’ turnaround. Those really in the know might wonder about a sheep at a holiday table where lamb’s blood plays a major role, but, hey, at least none of the guests are pigs. Preschool-Grade 1. — By Ilene Cooper

img_9517A Touch of Passover (A Touch and Feel Book)
By Ari Sollish

Join the wide-eyed illustrated kids of A Touch of Passover as they pat and prod their way through the symbols of the Passover Seder. Curious fingers will be unable to resist the bumpy matzah, leafy bitter maror, sticky wine droplets and more. Boys and girls are equally represented and impishly drawn to accompany the simple but engaging text. Printed on tough board book with wipe-able pages, A Touch of Passover will survive to be enjoyed throughout many Seders.

img_9518Let’s Ask Four Questions (Board book) – Common
By Judyth Groner

This is the perfect Passover book for a toddler’s library. The Four Questions are an important part of the Passover Seder that highlights the ways in which Passover customs and foods distinguish the holiday from other times of the year. They are traditionally recited by the youngest person at the table during the fifth part of the seder, though in some homes everyone reads them aloud together. This is a sturdy, colorful board book with rounded corners and a spill-proof laminated cover.

img_9531Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim: A Passover Story
By Deborah Bodin Cohen

Young Nachshon’s family has been enslaved by the Egyptian Pharaohs for generations. He fears that this will be his destiny too. But, when Moses confronts the wicked Pharaoh and then leads the Jews out of Egypt to the Red Sea, Nachshon gets the chance to overcome his fear of the water — and to realize his dream of freedom. The biblical legend of the brave boy who was the first to step into the sea when the waters parted for Moses, will inspire children to examine and deal with some of their own fears.

img_9532A Children’s Haggadah
By Howard Bogot and Robert Orkland

This unique Haggadah designed especially for young children will be a delightful asset to any seder table – at home, in religious schools or at community centers. The authors do more than merely retell the story of the Exodus; through special foods, prayers and songs the children personally experience the miraculous event. The brilliant design and beautiful illustrations elevate the text into an imaginative source for children and meaningful work of art for all those who experience it. Includes art on every page and a vibrant accordion foldout of the seder plate. There are 72 color illustrations, with a Hebrew opening but most of the book is written in English.

Braided Easter Bread

Cooking With Kids

There is no better aroma than walking into the home with the smell of fresh bread baking in the oven. Making bread isn’t difficult as long as you have plenty of time to knead it, allow it to rest, rise, and braid. In preparation for Easter, I allow my Nanny Kids to help with all steps of making bread by measuring the ingredients, mixing the dough, kneading the dough, and finally braiding the Easter bread. I recommend dying some eggs before making the bread. But do not use hard boiled eggs. The Easter eggs will bake at the same time that the bread does. This makes a great Easter centerpiece and makes a great hostess gift for Easter Sunday dinner.

You Will Need:

2-1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour, Divided
1/4 Cup White Sugar
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 (.25 ounce) Packaged Active Yeast
2/3 Cup Milk
2 Tablespoons Butter
2 Eggs
3 to 5 Uncooked, Whole Eggs, Dyed if Desired
2 Tablespoons Butter
Colored Sprinkles (Optional)

Light Glaze Ingredients (Optional):

2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tablespoons Milk
Colored Sprinkles

What to Do:

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan and heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted.

2. Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Let the kids try to knead the bread and you can finish.

3. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour. Show the kids the size of the bread when first covered and ask them to see the difference in size after it has doubled.

4. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the three to five colored uncooked eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.

6. Bake in the preheated oven until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Watch it carefully so not to overtake the bread.

7. Decorate the braided bread with light sugar and colors sprinkles if desired.

For Glaze (Optional):

1. While the bread is cooling whisk milk and powdered sugar together to make a thick paste.

2. Drizzle the icing on the bread, then top with sprinkles. (We added ours when bread was still warm and that melted. The kids love the melted colors saying it looks pretty).



Made and Photographed by Stephanie Felzenberg

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