6 books to read with your kids this Tu B’Shevat
Tu B’Shevat literally means the fifteenth day of the Jewish month of Shevat. The name of this minor Jewish holiday is somehow very specific yet so vague. So don’t judge this little gem of a holiday by its name. Tu B’Shevat celebrates the birthday of the trees. This is not only a concept little ones can easily get behind (did someone say cake and party favors!?) but it is also accurate. It is the earliest time of year when trees in Israel could potentially bloom and begin their fruit-bearing cycle, so we use it to mark the birthday of all the trees. This is important because, according to ancient biblical law, there is a seven-year agricultural cycle; keeping track of the trees’ birthdays is necessary in order to observe this cycle.
Tu B’Shevat customs include eating fruit; specifically olives, dates, pomegranates, and figs, and saying the Schecheyanu if it is your first time eating them that season. But there’s nothing to say that you can’t incorporate your own twist on an old holiday. If you’d like to inspire your kids to appreciate and celebrate the gifts of trees with books, here are a few selections perfect for Tu B’Shevat.
|1| The Giving Tree
By Shel Silverstein
|2| The Fall of Freddie the Leaf
By Leo Buscaglia
This is a tender tale about the life cycle that will touch the hearts of young and old readers alike. “Why were we here at all if we only have to fall and die?” asks Freddie the leaf. “It’s been about the sun and the moon. It’s been about happy times together. It’s been about the shade the old people, and the children. It’s been about colors in the fall. It’s been about seasons.” says his wise leaf friend Daniel.
|3| Our Tree Named Steve
By Alan Zweibel
|4| The Lorax
By Dr. Suess
|5| A Tree is Nice
By Janice May Udry
The illustrations are simple yet beautiful—and so is the message; Nature’s bounty is all around us. All we have to do is look. This Caldecott-Award winning book gently reminds us to appreciate the simple joy a tree provides.
|6| The Tree
By Dana Lyons
Interactive Family Purim Storytelling
The Sunday Experience
Jewish Kids Club