Your PJ Our Way Books for May

Posted May 01, 2019  | Written by PJ Our Way Team

Check out PJ Our Way’s choices for May!  This month, a grandfather goes from a Russian shtetl to the Wild West, two siblings walk through a mirror and find themselves in the middle of a fairy tale, a time-traveling junior high student searches for her mother in 1880s Paris, and a nice kid finds himself in a bunch of trouble at school.  Your child will find magic, history, friendship, and more in this month’s selections.

Zayda was a Cowboy

Zayda Was a Cowboy by June Levitt Nislick

Ages 9+

74 pages

Meyer ben Yehezkiel’s life in a Russian shtetl is entirely bound up with Judaism and Jewish practice. When the Cossacks come, he has 24 hours to leave to avoid being conscripted into the Czar’s army. He sails for America, ends up in Texas, and finds himself gradually becoming American, and a cowboy to boot! Even when he learns to ride a horse and feed cattle, he retains his deep ties to his Jewish heritage. This sweet and fascinating story is narrated by Mike, now Zayda, in a framing narrative set in the 1980s. An epilogue gives details of the real-life Galveston Plan, which encouraged Jewish immigrants to settle out west rather than on the east coast. There is also a reading list and a glossary that defines the book’s many Yiddish words. Zayda Was a Cowboy won the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award in 1999.

Two Peas in a Pod

Two Peas in a Pod by Sara Mlynowski

Ages 9+

171 pages

Abby and her kid brother, Jonah, enter a fairy-tale world through a mirror in their basement, right into a fractured version of the Princess and the Pea. When the Kingdom of Bog anoints Abby as its new princess, she decides to run a contest to find her strongest, bravest and kindest successor. This adorable addition to the New York Times-bestselling Whatever After series will entertain and empower young fairytale fans with its fresh, modern view of princesses.

Mira's Diary

Mira’s Diary: Lost in Paris by Marissa Moss

Ages: 9+

224 pages

Mira is about to start junior high school, but there’s one big problem: her mother has been missing for months! Mira’s father has complete faith that she will return soon, but when he receives a mysterious postcard from Paris, he decides to travel there with Mira and her older brother, Malcolm, to search for clues. During their visit to the Notre Dame Cathedral, a creepy looking stone gargoyle catapults Mira into the past and we learn that she has inherited her mother’s gift for time travel. Now in Paris in 1881, Mira catches glimpses of her lost mother and meets famous nineteenth century French artists like Degas, Mary Cassatt, and Renoir. She becomes involved in the trial of Alfred Dreyfus, tries to fight anti-Semitism, and inspires the famous writer, Émile Zola, to write his J’Accuse article in support of Dreyfus. Written from Mira’s point-of-view and illustrated by Mira’s little pencil drawings, this fun time travel diary is sure to please.


Twerp By Mark Goldblatt

Ages: 10+

288 pages

Julian is a nice kid who’s made a big mistake. As part of his punishment, he has to write a journal about what happened. Julian avoids the issue for as long as he can, instead writing in composition notebook after composition notebook about his ill-fated escapades, including his fear that the new boy in school will usurp his title of fastest runner in sixth grade, and his attempt to play cupid for his best friend, Lonnie. A fresh, funny, moving, and realistic picture of a close-knit group of Jewish friends in 1969 Queens, New York.

What do you think of this month’s books? Comment below to let us know.

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