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PJ Library resources

Staff Writer, New Jersey Jewish News

When the 5-year-old niece of Alli Thresher, social media manager of PJ Library, starts asking questions, Thresher acknowledged she doesn’t always know how to answer them, and then, “I’m in a pickle.” Because of the wave of anti-Semitism that struck JCCs, parks, cemeteries, and other Jewish institutions, PJ Library, a project of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation that provides free Jewish books and music to children ages 6 months to 11 years, created a resource list for talking to children about terrorism and anti-Semitism. 

“This is for a situation where children have raised the question. It is not a topic we are suggesting parents raise out of the blue,” said Winnie Sandler Grinspoon, president of the foundation. She added, “Kids might have questions about why their day was disrupted, or what they witnessed.”

What is most important, Sandler Grinspoon said, is making sure children know “it’s OK to have a question and it’s OK to tackle the answer. And the message is it’s not taboo if it concerns something that happened at school.” That said, she and Thresher agreed the answers should be age appropriate.

PJ Library has compiled a list of its own titles that deal with both overcoming adversity and standing up for what is right. In some cases, the books focus on discrimination and anti-Semitism. The list includes:

Adversity:

“Across the Alley,” by
Richard Michelson

“Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher,” by Laurel Snyder

“Jumping Jenny,” by Ellen Bari

“The Legend of Freedom Hill,” by Linda
Jacobs Altman

“The Littlest Pair,” by Sylvia Rouss

“The Mysterious Guests,” by Eric A. Kimmel

“The Wise Shoemaker of Studena,” by Syd Lieberman

 Anti-Semitism and discrimination

“The Time Tunnel 2: The Dreyfus Affair,” by Galia Ron-Feder-Amit

“Penina Levine is a Hard Boiled Egg,” by Rebecca O’Connell

“Quake!: Disaster in San Francisco, 1906,” by Gail Langer Karwoski

“OyMG,” by Amy Fellner Dominy


Standing up for what’s right:

“A Time to Be Brave,” by Joan Betty Stuchner

“Brave Girl,” by Michelle Markel

“I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark,” by Debbie Levy

“Jean Laffite: The Pirate Who Saved America,” by Susan Goldman Rubin

“Like a Maccabee,” by Barbara Bietz

“Queen Esther Saves Her People,” by Rita Goldman Gelman

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