Shabbat, or Sabbath, is the Jewish day of rest. This holy day begins as sundown on Friday and lasts until sundown on Saturday. If you’d like to read more about its history and significance, chabad.org is a wonderful resource. Here are wonderful picture books about Shabbat: some are meant to teach children about Shabbat, while others are just for fun!
Picture Books About Shabbat
Enjoy these picture books about Jewish Shabbat, or Sabbath
Shabbat Shalom! and its companion We Go to Shul are both wonderful introductions to Shabbat for very young readers. Shabbat Shalom! focuses on how a young family celebrates the Friday evening meal together, while We Go to Shul shows children what to expect when they go to shul, or synagogue, on Saturday. Both show a more traditional Shabbat (the women wear head coverings, for example) and showcase the warmth and joy of celebrating Shabbat with your family and community.
Shabbat Is Coming! is part of a series of books to introduce young children to Jewish life and traditions. The simple rhyming text helps children experience the excitement that comes from getting ready for Shabbat.
Shabbat Shalom, Hey! is based on a popular children’s song (which can be heard via a QR code on the back cover). It is an adorable book for very young readers, with jungle animals preparing for and celebrating Shabbat together.
The Schmutzy Family is a family that loves to get “shmutsik” (dirty). All week long, Mama Schmutzy is tolerant of the mess, even when the kids make mud pies in the kitchen or when they paint their clothes with tomato sauce. But come Friday morning, Mama Schmutzy makes sure the kids and the house are spic and span. Everyone pitches in as they get ready for Shabbat that evening and head to the synagogue the next morning. And when Sunday comes, it’s back out to the puddles and mud – and even Mama enjoys making a splash!
Chik Chak Shabbat is a lovely multicultural story about the power of fellowship to bring together people of different backgrounds. Every Shabbat Goldie cooks her famous cholent stew for her neighbors, so one week when the delicious aromas don’t fill the building as usually, everyone knows something is wrong. Even though they have to throw together a meal “chik chak” (in a hurry), the love and generosity they reflect back towards Goldie makes it a perfect Shabbat.
For Grampa, Shabbat shalom, or Sabbath peace, means a nice quiet walk with his grandson Noah. Every week, Noah asks to bring his puppy along, but Grampa says no. How could they find Shabbat shalom with a noisy puppy? Finally one morning, Grampa relents. He is skeptical of finding much peace, but when the puppy saves a baby bird who has fallen from its nest, even Grampa realizes that even a bouncy, wiggly dog can help find Shabbat shalom. The Shabbat Puppy is a sweet book for little animal lovers.
Bim and Bom: A Shabbat Tale is inspired by a well-known song, Shabbat Shalom (for which the piano music is included at the back). A brother and sister work hard all week, but on Shabbat they hurry to meet each other and celebrate Shabbat together! Also a great way to introduce the concept of doing mitzvah, or good deeds, for Shabbat.
Lights Out Shabbat is the story of a very special Shabbat a young boy celebrates with his beloved grandparents when the lights go out during an unexpected snowstorm. Being together with the grandparents helps the boy to overcome his fears, and in the end they decide that the electricity need a Shabbat rest, too!
Clarence’s Topsy-Turvy Shabbat is a wonderful book for word play. Poor Clarence wants to make challah for Shabbat, but he keeps making silly mistakes! For example, he buys flower instead of flour and brings home a bunny instead of honey. Yet, despite the narrator’s skepticism, Clarence still hosts a wonderful Shabbat for his friends.
An Egg for Shabbat is by well-known Israeli author Mirik Snir and illustrated by her daughter Eleyor Snir. Ben wants to help his mother fetch eggs from the chicken pen, but each day he breaks it before he gets back to the house. His mother is kind and patient with him, as Ben learns how to be more careful with the eggs. Finally, on Friday he manages to bring the egg home, and they use it to help make their challah for Shabbat.