Jewish Children's Books with Disabled Characters

three children's books covers: Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles, Sigh Language Shabbat, The Mitten String and the title Jewish Children's Books with Disabled Characters

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It has been some time since I shared a list of books for children with disabled characters.

Representation is a critical component to helping children develop a healthy self-image. 

It’s important for children to experience books that provide mirrors (books where children can identify with the characters) and windows (books where the children can see into the lives of those that are different from them).

There are a lot of great secular books with disabled characters for children of all ages and reading abilities. Here is a long list that I continue to update: Disability Inclusion Book List

It can be harder to find good Jewish-themed children's books with disabled characters, but the list is growing. Here are a few really good ones to add to your library:

The Mitten String by Jennifer Rosner "When her family invites a deaf woman and her baby to stay, Ruthie, a talented knitter of mittens, wonders how the mother will know if her child wakes in the night. The surprising answer inspires Ruthie to knit a special gift that offers great comfort to mother and baby—and to Ruthie herself. With language and imagery reminiscent of stories told long ago, this modern Jewish folktale will resonate with those who love crafts, anyone who’s encountered someone with physical differences—and with everyone who has ever lost a mitten in the depths of winter."

Nathan Blows out the Hanukkah Candles by Tami Lehman-Wilzig "Jacob loves his autistic brother, Nathan, but when Hanukkah comes, Jacob worries that Nathan might embarrass him in front of his new friend. What if Nathan blows out the Hanukkah candles?!"

Cakes and Miracles by Barbara Diamond Goldin "Purim is approaching and Hershel, the only blind boy in the village, wishes he could help his mother prepare hamantashen for the holiday. If only I could see, he thinks, I could help my mother more. That night, Hershel dreams of a winged angel descending a sparkling ladder. She says, "Make what you see. You see when you close your eyes. You see in your dreams." With new courage, Hershel learns to trust his dream and creates something more beautiful than anyone in the whole village can imagine."

Sign Language Shabbat by Alisa Greenbacher & Jennifer Rosner "The children in this book sign words for things people do on Shabbat, such as eat challah, drink wine or grape juice, sing Shabbat songs, and (of course!) read books. Shabbat Shalom!"

I'd love to add to my list. Please share your suggestions!

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