By Amy Schwartz, Director, PJ Library & jkidphilly

In the children’s book, Thank you, Trees, by Gail Langer Karwoski and Marilyn E. Gootman, it reads, “On Tu B’Shevat we thank each tree, for all it gives to you and me.”  This is also a metaphor for books themselves and the gifts of learning, wondering, and imagining they provide.  In my role as Director of the Greater Philadelphia PJ Library program, I hear first-hand of excitement and gratitude of children receiving Jewish-themed books in the mail each month.  It’s a similar gratitude as conveyed in Karwoski and Gootman’s story.  And as the books for Tu BiShvat (Jewish Arbor Day – which is this Thursday) begin to land in the mailboxes of Jewish children all around Greater Philadelphia, I wanted to take this moment to reflect on that thought.

Outside my kitchen window the sky is a heavy gray, the ground is frozen, and the air is undoubtedly cold, but according to the Jewish calendar, it’s nearly time to celebrate Tu BiShvat.  A celebration of new growth—a birthday for the trees according to some!  When Don’t Sneeze at the Wedding or Snow In Jerusalem seem like more timely titles, PJ Library offers our children the opportunity to wonder about the coming spring, to imagine how the climate in Israel provides a different January experience, and to think about the Jewish value of gratitude, or Hakarat Ha’ tov – recognizing and appreciating the good.

It is with Hakarat Ha’tov that I ask each of you to take a moment to think about what the gift of books has given to you.  And like the seeds that are planted each Tu BiShvat, so are the values and opportunities for growth that we give our children and grandchildren with each book that we read with them.

Do you have a child or grandchild 6 months to 8 years old living in Greater Philadelphia who isn’t yet signed up for our PJ Library program? Are you looking for a gift for someone’s child?  Click here to register for free.

On behalf of Jewish Learning Venture, I thank you for your partnership in supporting our ability to provide programs such as PJ Library to our Jewish children.

Join the conversation: Does your child or grandchild have a favorite PJ Library book?  Please share it with us in the comments below!