Purim is just around the corner, so here are some of our favorite Purim children’s books. Some tell the story of Queen Esther, while others describe how Purim is celebrated today, and still others are about a particular experience related to the holiday. We have enjoyed reading these, as we were not very familiar with Purim previously.
Purim Books about Queen Esther
The story of Queen Esther is a fantastic tale, full of intrigue, betrayal, and, ultimately, triumph. The Story of Esther: A Purim Tale tells of how a Hebrew maiden became the Queen of Persia and risked her own life to save her people from a plot to destroy them. Eric A Kimmel is a well known children’s author whose books have received National Jewish Book Awards. He was also awarded the Sydney Taylor Lifetime Achievement Award.
Queen Esther Saves Her People is another popular version of the story of Queen Esther and her bravery in saving her people from the schemes of the wicked official Haman.
Individual Purim Stories
Jane Breskin Zalben has written a wonderful series of picture books about Jewish holidays, including Happy New Year, Beni, which I included in my collection of Rosh Hashanah books. Goldie’s Purim is about a little bear and her family who are preparing to celebrate Purim together. Goldie has the lead role of Esther in the Purim play, but she is nervous! Then Goldie remembers how brave Esther was and decides she can be brave, too. This is a really sweet book about courage that also shows children many of the important elements of Purim.
As Purim approaches, Herschel wishes he could help his mother more, as she struggles to support them. But Herschel is blind and so there is only so much he can do to help – or is there? When an angel appears to him in a dream and encourages him to “see” what is in his mind, Herschel discovers a natural talent that can help his mother and provide a secure future for them both. Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale is a beautiful story of love and learning to trust in yourself.
Raisel’s Riddle is a Cinderella story set in Poland. Raisel is an orphan who goes to the city as a young woman, where she finds work in the house of a rabbi. The rabbi’s cook is jealous of Raisel and treats her cruelly, but Raisel’s luck changes one day when her kindness to an old beggar women is rewarded with three wishes. These enable Raisel to attend the Purim play, where she meets the rabbi’s son, who has no idea she is the same girl that works in his own home. I love that this story turns on a riddle that Raisel tells the rabbi’s son about wisdom, and that it is her cleverness that steals his heart.
Just for Fun Purim Books
The little old lady is making hamantaschen for Purim, but her lazy pets won’t help. The animals always have an excuse, but they aren’t actually lazy: See what special surprise they are planning while their beloved owner bakes! The Better-Than-Best Purim is a really cute book for young readers. Includes a note about the history of Purim and how it is celebrated, plus a recipe for hamantaschen.
Barnyard Purim is an adorable story for young children about Purim. When Farmer Max leaves for a Purim play, the bayryard animals decide to put on one of their own. But when a wolf sneaks in and is mistaken for Haman, the shy Duck (in the role of Esther) must be brave and save the day!
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