Jewish American Heritage Month

Published 10:28 am Monday, May 16, 2022

May was proclaimed as Jewish American Heritage Month in 2006. This celebration pays tribute to the generations of Jewish Americans who have helped form the fabric of American history, culture, and society. Here are some books by Jewish American authors that you might enjoy!



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Dear Mr. Dickens by Nancy Churnin

In Eliza Davis’s day, Charles Dickens was the most celebrated living writer in England. But some of his books reflected a prejudice that was all too common at the time: prejudice against Jewish people. Eliza was Jewish, and her heart hurt to see a Jewish character in Oliver Twist portrayed as ugly and selfish. She wanted to speak out about how unfair that was, even if it meant speaking out against the great man himself. So she wrote a letter to Charles Dickens. What happened next is history…


Falling Short by Ernesto Cisneros

Best friends Isaac and Marco face various challenges in sixth grade, such as Isaac getting better grades, Marco winning a spot on the basketball team, and both seeing their efforts make a change in their respective family lives. They hope their friendship and support for one another will be enough to help them from falling short.




We are Inevitable by Gayle Forman

After losing his brother, mom, and most of his friends, Aaron Stein is left with his shambolic father alone in their moldering secondhand bookstore, but just when he considers selling the store he meets new people and takes on new challenges, helping him come to terms with what he has lost and who he wants to be.


The City Beautiful by Aden Polydoros

Death lurks around every corner in this unforgettable Jewish historical fantasy about a city, a boy, and the shadows of the past that bind them both together. For Alter Rosen, 1893 Chicago is the land of opportunity, and he dreams of the day he’ll have enough money to bring his mother and sisters to America, freeing them from the oppression they face in his native Romania. But when Alter’s best friend, Yakov, becomes the latest victim in a long line of murdered Jewish boys, his dream begins to slip away. 




Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Every summer in Atlantic City, Esther and Joseph Adler rent their house out to vacationers escaping to “America’s Playground” and move into the small apartment above their bakery where they raised their two daughters, Fannie and Florence. Now in 1934, Florence has returned from college and Fannie is on bed rest for the duration of her pregnancy. After Joseph insists they take in a mysterious young woman whom he recently helped emigrate from Nazi Germany, the apartment is bursting at the seams. Esther only wants to keep her daughters close and safe but some matters are beyond her control and the family gets pulled into an elaborate web of secret-keeping and lies, bringing long-buried tensions to the surface.


Can We Talk About Israel? by Daniel Sokatch

From an expert who understands both sides of one of the world’s most complex topics, this is a modern-day primer on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Complete with engaging illustrations by Christopher Noxon, it’s an easy-to-read yet penetrating and original look at the history and basic contours of one of the most complicated conflicts in the world.


Jen Pace Dickenson is the youth services librarian for Polk County Public Libraries. For information about the library’s resources, programs, and other services, visit or call 828-894-8721.