A curated booklist by your favorite SPL librarians!
Fiction | Nonfiction | Young Adult | Graphic Novels
|All Other Nights by Dara Horn
Jacob Rapport, a Jewish soldier in the Union army during the Civil War, is tasked with the heartwrenching orders to kill his Uncle, who is plotting to assassinate President Lincoln, putting his integrity and religious values to the test.
|The Full Catastrophe by Méira Cook
Full of heart and humor, this charming novel follows Charlie Minkoff, a thirteen-year-old intersex boy, and his grandfather, Oscar, a ninety-year-old Holocaust survivor and Charlie's best friend, as they plan a joint bar mitzvah, which the Nazi’s robbed Oscar from experiencing in his youth.
|Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
Twentysomething writer Chani Horowitz gets a lucky break when her profile of celebrity crush, Gabe Parker, goes viral. Ten years later, they reunite for another interview, re-igniting a spark from when they first met in this sweet and sizzling romance.
|Modern Girls by Jennifer S. Brown
Set in 1935 in New York’s immigrant Jewish community, this atmospheric historical fiction novel follows bookkeeper and modern gal, Dottie Krasinsky, who faces the dilemma of an unplanned pregnancy with an unsuitable bachelor. Meanwhile, Dottie’s mother Rose is also facing an unexpected pregnancy, forcing both mother and daughter to face impossible choices.
|People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
Winner of multiple awards, including the Massachusetts Book Award for fiction. In 1996, young Australian book conservator, Hanna Heath, unwittingly unearths an international cover up while analyzing the Sarajevo Haggadah, a priceless six-hundred-year-old Jewish prayer book.
|Sarahland by Sam Cohen
A brilliant and hilarious exploration of the shortcomings of traditional stories, this collection of critically acclaimed short stories follows the everyday lives of different Sarahs. Exploring identity, sexuality, and relationships, Cohen deftly incorporates pop culture and fairy tale references into these unconventional, queer-centered tales.
|The Yiddish Policemen's Union Michael Chabon
A banter-filled, darkly humorous mystery with numerous awards to its name. Jewish refugees have prospered for sixty years in Sitka, a safe haven in the Alaskan Panhandle, but life as the “frozen chosen” know it could be coming to an end. Meanwhile, Sitka police detective Meyer Landsman’s life is already in shambles when a murdered body washes up right under his nose.
|American Judaism: A History by Jonathan D. Sarna
An award-winning text on the history, society, and culture of Jews in America spanning 350 years since the 1654 Jewish settlement in New Amsterdam (now New York). Adding to a growing field of study, Brandeis professor Sarna details notable historical events alongside lesser-known events and people, including rabbinical leaders and the movements they led.
|Antisemitism: Here and Now by Deborah E. Lipstadt
Winner of the 2019 National Jewish Book Award for Jewish Education and Identity. Thought-provoking and sobering, this well-researched historical text on the politics and global affairs surrounding Jews sheds light on anti-Semitism from biblical to modern times and harmful stereotypes and sentiments stemming from both extremes of American politics.
|Bad Jews: A History of American Jewish Politics and Identities by Emily Tamkin
Examining the evolution of Jewish culture and society over the past 100 years in America, Tamkin debunks the notion of being a “bad Jew.” Analyzing American Jewish politics, culture, identities, and arguments over the years, she pinpoints the common theme of change that binds the several million people who identify as American Jews together, despite their differences.
|Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman by Abby Stein
Growing up in a Brooklyn Hasidic Jewish community, author and activist Abby Stein experienced an extremely isolating upbringing in addition to the pressures of being the first-born son in a rabbinical dynasty. Additionally, identifying as a girl from a young age Stein had many hurdles in her journey to liberation as a trans woman.
|Belonging and Betrayal: How Jews Made the Art World Modern by Charles Dellheim
A richly detailed work about the important role of Jewish artists and collectors in the late-19th and early-20th century art world who influenced the evolution of art and style throughout Europe and the United States. A choice scholarly work for historical buffs and art aficionados alike.
|How Yiddish Changed America and How America Changed Yiddish edited by Ilan Stavans and Josh Lambert
An anthology of Yiddish culture in America, from bagels to Star Trek, plus major works of Yiddish literature, poetry, comics, and political thought. Editors Stavans and Lambert offer an engaging, thought-provoking look at the valuable influence of Yiddish culture in the history of America after the arrival of Jewish immigrants from Eastern and Central Europe.
|Jew-ish: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch by Jake Cohen
From classic to all-new, self-described foodie and editorial director of the FeedFeed, Jake Cohen, intermixes personal tips for entertaining alongside mouthwatering recipes like chocolate-tahini babka, pastrami biscuits and gravy, and roasted chicken matzo-ball soup in this lighthearted, approachable cookbook with over 100 “Jewish-style” recipes.
|Camp by L.C. Rosen
At Camp Outland, a summer camp for LGBTQIA teens, sixteen year old Randy “Del” Kapplehoff is giving up show tunes and nail polish to woo Hudson Aaronson-Lim, who seems to only be into buff and masculine men. But how much is Randy willing to change for love? And is it really love if Hudson doesn’t even know who he is?
|Color Me In by Natasha Diaz
Nevaeh Levitz never really thought about her biracial roots - until her Black mom and Jewish dad divorced and she moved to her mom’s home in Harlem. As Nevaeh navigates family tension around her White-passing privilege and her dad decides she should have a belated bat mitzvah, she works to find her voice and own her choices.
|Cool For The Summer by Dahlia Adler
When Lara returns to school and finally snags the heart of strong, sweet football star Chase Harding, she’s got it all. Or does she? Why can’t she stop thinking about that summer she spent with Jasmine, only to have her show up at Lara’s school? With a bisexual Grease vibe, Cool For the Summer covers self-discovery and new love.
|Hope and Other Punch Lines by Julie Buxbaum
Abbi Hope Goldstein has always lived in the shadow of the September 11 terrorist attacks, as she is the subject of an iconic photograph from that tragedy. Now, as she searches for anonymity, Noah Stern, whose world also irrevocably changed that day, needs her help. Together, they work to untangle the past and find the strength for a fresh start.
|Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert
Falling for the same girl as her brother while home visiting from boarding school forces Suzette to confront her sexual identity, while her brother’s bipolar disorder becomes all-consuming. Suzette throws herself into rescuing her brother from spiraling further into his mental illness, while learning to navigate life as a young Black, Jewish, queer woman in a binary world.
|Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon
High achieving senior rivals Rowen and Neil team up to compete in Howl, a senior class game spread out around Seattle, after discovering another group of seniors are planning to sabotage them. Rowen and Neil vow that their good will ends once they’re the final competitors, but will these enemies become lovers in the end?
|Chasing Echoes by Dan Goldman and George Schall
When Malka, the “black sheep” of her quirky, estranged family, learns she wasn’t included in family plans to visit her grandfather’s pre-Holocaust home in Poland, she elbows her way into the trip. Moving back and forth from 1930s Poland to present day, this heartfelt dramedy shares the value of coming together, baggage and all.
|The Life and Crimes of Hoodie Rosen by Isaac Blum
Life gets complicated for teenage Hoodie Rosen after his Orthodox community relocates to the largely non-Jewish town of Tregaron. Not only does he fall for the daughter of the mayor who wants to keep the Orthodox community away from the town, he also faces a series of escalating anti-Semitism within Tregaron that becomes deadly.
|The Rabbi's Cat by Joann Sfar
A rabbi’s cat gains the ability to talk, and declares he wants to study Kabbalah so he can have a bar mitzvah, leading to a quandary about whether a cat can be Jewish. Meanwhile, the rabbi’s daughter falls in love with a secular man from Paris, opening the door to even more philosophical and zany discussions in this endearing and vibrantly illustrated tale.
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