May Is Jewish American Heritage Month

Created by Linda Tripp, collection development librarian

Explore biographies for young readers which focus on fascinating Jews whose contributions have impacted the arts, science and even the outcome of World War II.

The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch From Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come” by Sue Macy 

Over the last 40 years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure: any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. To date he’s collected close to 1.5 million books.

Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty”  by Linda Glaser

The story of Emma Lazarus, who, despite her life of privilege, became a tireless advocate for the immigrants who arrived in New York City in the 1880s and wrote a famous poem for the Statue of Liberty. 

Irving Berlin the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing” by Nancy Churnin

Describes the life of the famous composer, who immigrated to the United States at age 5 and became inspired by the rhythms of jazz and blues in his new home.

Itzhak: A Boy Who Loved the Violin” by Tracy Newman

Recounts the acclaimed violin virtuoso’s upbringing in a poor immigrant family in Tel Aviv, the music that inspired his early childhood and the difficult obstacles, including disabling polio, that challenged his musical development.

The People’s Painter: How Ben Shahn Fought for Justice with Art

The illustrated biography of the influential artist, immigrant, and activist whose work still resonates today.

The Spy Who Played Baseball” by Carrie Jones

The true story of Moe Berg, the Major League Baseball catcher from New Jersey who spied for the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. 

Thank You, Dr. Salk!: The Scientist Who Beat Polio and Healed the World” by Dean Robbins 

The story of Jonas Salk, who created the polio vaccine that saved untold numbers of lives–and healed the world. 

Try It!: How Frieda Caplan Changed the Way We Eat” by Mara Rockliff 

Meet fearless Frieda Caplan, the specialty produce pioneer who changed the way Americans eat by introducing exciting new fruits and vegetables, from baby carrots to blood oranges to kiwis.