Association of Jewish Libraries of Southern California


People to Read About
in Biographies and Autobiographies
for Older Elementary Readers

and Young Adults

by Ellen Cole, Librarian
Levine Library, Temple Isaiah, Los Angeles


Note: Views expressed in these resources reflect solely the author's opinions.  


Updated 2017

Many Jews lead lives that make a difference.  This list of 115 Jewish heroes will give you a sample of life experiences.

This is a list of people, not books.  You can find specific titles by asking for books about these people by name or career at your library or bookstore.  

Our list is arranged in two ways to help you search for a Jewish personality or a Righteous Gentile who helped the Jews. The first list is alphabetical by the person's last name.  The second list is alphabetical by their life experiences.  Choose the list that you prefer.  Enjoy browsing both.



Arranged Alphabetically by Individual

Individual Life Experiece
   
Aaronsohn, Sarah Israel / NILI / Spy / Palestine
Aboab Rabbi / First in Americas / Brazil
Avner Israel / Assassin
Baeck, Leo Rabbi / Holocaust
Ben Gurion, David Israeli Politician
Ben Yehuda, Eliezer Hebrew Language / Revival
Benjamin, Judah US / Politician / Civil War
Berg, Moe Sports / Baseball
Berlin, Irving Music / Composer
Bernstein, Leonard Music / Composer
Blume, Judy Author / Children's Literature
Bohr, Niels Scientist / Physics / Atom Bomb
Bondi, August Frontier / Warrior / Anti-Slavery / John Brown
Brandeis, Louis Supreme Court
Carvalho, Solomon Artist / Photographer / Fremont Expedition
Chagall, Marc Artist / Painter
Cohen, Henry Rabbi / Frontier
Cohen, Sasha Sports / Olympics / Ice Skating
Columbus, Christopher Explorer
Davidson, Jo Artist / Sculptor
Dicker-Brandeis, Friedl Holocaust / Artist
Dylan, Bob Singer of Protest Folk Songs; Song Writer
Einstein, Albert Scientist / Physics
*Finger, Milton 'Bill' Cartoonist / Creator of Batman
Fleischner, Louis Frontier / Oregon Pioneer
Fleishman, Sid Author / Children's Literature
Frank, Anne Holocaust / Diary Writer
Frankl, Viktor Psychiatry
Freud, Sigmund Psychiatry
Friedan, Betty Women / Feminist / US
Fry, Varian Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer
Gehry, Frank Artist / Architect
Gershwin, George Music / Composer
Gimbel, Adam Merchant / Department Store
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader Supreme Court
Gluckel of Hamlin Women / 17th Century / Memoir Writer
Goldman, Emma US / Political Activist
Gompers, Samuel AFL / Labor Unions
Gratz, Rebecca Sunday Schools / Post Revolutionary War
Gray, Bettyanne Russian Revolution
Greenberg, Hank Sports / Baseball
Hautzig, Esther Holocaust / Siberian Slave Labor / Autobiography
Herzl, Theodor Israel / Zionism
Heschel, Abraham Joshua Rabbi / Scholar
Houdini, Harry Actor / Escape Artist & Magician
Jacobs, Lionel & Barron Merchant / Frontier / Arizona
Kafka, Franz Author
Klotz, Louis "Red" Sports / Basketball / Harlem Globetrotters
Kolleck, Teddy Israel / Politician
Korczak, Janusz Holocaust / Ghetto Orphanage / Author
Koufax, Sandy Sports / Baseball
*Lafitte, Jean Pirate / American Patriot & Hero
Lazarus, Emma Poet / Statue of Liberty
Levy, Uriah Phillips US / Navy Reformer / Saver of Montecello
Lopez, Aaron Merchant / Revolutionary War
Marcus, Mickey Israel / War of Independence / Soldier
Meir, Golda Israel / Politician
Meitner. Lise Scientist / Nuclear Fission
Mendelssohn, Fanny Music / Composer / Musician
Mendelssohn, Felix Musician / Composer
Mendes, Dona Gracia Israel / Philanthropist / Sephardim
Mendilow, Miriam Israel / Social Work
Meyer, Julius et.al US / West / Indians
Michalina Kidnapped Children
Mordecai, Major Alfred US / Soldier / Civil War
Moses, Robert City Planner / New York City
Myers, Myer Artist / Silversmith / Revolutionary War
Netanyahu, Yoni Israel / Entebbe Hero / Soldier
Nevelson, Louise Artist / Sculptor
Oberlander, Cornelia Hahn Landscape Architect
Oppenheimer, J. Robert Scientist / Physics / Atom Bomb
Peretz, Isaac Leib Author / Yiddish
Perlman, Itzhak Music / Musician
*Pike, Lippman Sports / Baseball
Picon, Molly Actor / Yiddish Theater
Rabin, Yitzhak Israel / Politician
Rabinowitz, Shalom Author / Sholom Aleichem
Ramon, Ilan Astronaut / Columbia / First Israeli Astronaut
Rashi Talmud / Commentary
Resnik, Judith Astronaut / Challenger
Rosenfeld, Bobbie Sports / Olympics
Rosenwald, Julius Philathropist / Education / Civil Rights Activist
Saadia Gaon Talmud / Gaon
Salk, Jonas Doctor / Cure for Polio
Salomon, Haym US / Banker / Revolutionary War
Salomons, Sir David England / Politician / First Jewish London Mayor
Schindler, Oskar Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer
Scholl, Sophie Holocaust / Resistance / White Rose
Schwerner, Michael Civil Rights Worker and Victim
Sendak, Maurice Author / Illustrator
*Sendler, Irene Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer of Children
Senesh, Hannah Holocaust / Resistance / Poet
Sharon, Ariel Israel / Politician, Israel / Soldier
*Shuster, Joe Cartoonist / Co-Creator of Superman
*Siegal, Jerry Cartoonist / Co-Creator of Superman
Sills, Beverly Music / Opera
Silverstein, Shel Author / Children's Literature
Singer, Isaac Bashevis Author / Yiddish / Nobel Prize
Spielberg, Steven Movies
Spitz, Mark Sports / Olympics / Swimmer
Strauss, Levi Merchant / Blue Jeans / Gold Rush
Szold, Henrietta Israel / Social Worker
Teller, Edward Scientist / Physics / Hydrogen Bomb
Wald, Lillian Social Worker / Nurse
Waldman, Neil Artist / Illustrator
Wallenberg, Raoul Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer
Weinberg, Robert Doctor / Cancer Research
Weizmann, Chaim Israel / Politician / Scientist
Wertheimer, Samson Court Advisor / 17th Century
Wiesel, Elie Holocaust / Survivor / Author
Wiesenthal, Simon Holocaust / Survivor / Nazi Hunter
Wilheim, Lily Renee Cartoonist / Comic Book Pioneer
Yezierska, Anzia Author / Immigrant
Yolen, Jane Author / Children's Literature
Zenatti, Valerie Israel / Soldier


Arranged Alphabetically by Life Experience

Life Experience Individual
   
Actor / Escape Artist & Magician Houdini, Harry
Actor / Yiddish Theater Picon, Molly
AFL / Labor Unions Gompers, Samuel
Artist / Architect Gehry, Frank
Artist / Illustrator Waldman, Neil
Artist / Painter Chagall, Marc
Artist / Photographer / Fremont Expedition Carvalho, Solomon
Artist / Sculptor Nevelson, Louise
Artist / Sculptor Davidson, Jo
Artist / Silversmith / Revolutionary War Myers, Myer
Astronaut / Challenger Resnik, Judith
Astronaut / Columbia / First Israeli Astronaut Ramon, Ilan
Author Kafka, Franz
Author / Children's Literature Blume, Judy
Author / Children's Literature Fleishman, Sid
Author / Children's Literature Silverstein, Sid
Author / Children's Literature Yolen, Jane
Author / Illustrator Sendak, Maurice
Author / Immigrant Yezierska, Anzia
Author / Sholom Aleichem Rabinowitz, Shalom
Author / Yiddish Peretz, Isaac Leib
Author / Yiddish / Nobel Prize Singer, Isaac Bashevis
Cartoonist/Creator of Batman *Finger, Milton 'Bill'
Cartoonist / Co-Creator of Superman *Shuster, Joe
Cartoonist / Co-Creator of Superman *Siegal, Jerry
Cartoonist / Comic Book Pioneer Wilheim, Lily Renee
City Planner / New York City Moses, Robert
Civil Rights Worker and Victim Schwerner, Michael
Court Advisor / l7th Century Wertheimer, Samson
Doctor / Cancer Research Weinberg, Robert
Doctor / Cure for Polio Salk, Jonas
England / Politician / First Jewish London Mayor Salomons, Sir David
Explorer Columbus, Christopher
Frontier / Warrior / Anti-Slavery / John Brown Bondi, August
Frontier / Oregon Pioneer Fleischner, Louis
Hebrew Language / Revival Ben Yehuda, Eliezer
Holocaust / Artist Dicker-Brandeis, Friedl
Holocaust / Diary Writer Frank, Anne
Holocaust / Ghetto Orphanage / Author Korczak, Janusz
Holocaust / Resistance / Poet Senesh, Hannah
Holocaust / Resistance / White Rose Scholl, Sophie
Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer Fry, Varian
Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer Schindler, Oskar
Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer Wallenberg, Raoul
Holocaust / Righteous Gentile Rescuer of Children *Sendler, Irene
Holocaust / Siberian Slave Labor Hautzig, Esther
Holocaust / Survivor / Author Wiesel, Elie
Holocaust / Survivor / Nazi Hunter Wiesenthal, Simon
Israel / Assassin Avner
Israel / Entebbe Hero / Soldier Netanyahu, Yoni
Israel / NILI / Spy / Palestine Aaronsohn, Sarah
Israel / Philanthropist / Sephardim Mendes, Dona Gracia
Israel / Politician Ben Gurion, David
Israel / Politician Kolleck, Teddy
Israel / Politician Meir, Golda
Israel / Politician Rabin, Yitzhak
Israel/Politician / Israel/ Soldier Sharon, Ariel
Israel / Politician I Scientist Weizmannk, Chaim
Israel / Social Worker Mendilow, Miriam
Israel / Social Worker Szold, Henrietta
Israel / Soldier Zenatti, Valerie
Israel / War of Independence / Soldier Marcus, Mickey
Israel / Zionism Herzl, Theodor
Kidnapped Children Michelina
Landscape Architect Oberlander, Cornelia Hahn
Merchant / Blue Jeans / Gold Rush Strauss, Levi
Merchant / Department Store Gimbel, Adam
Merchant / Frontier / Arizona Jacobs, Lionel & Barron
Merchant / Revolutionary War Lopez, Aaron
Movies Spielberg, Steven
Music / Composer Berlin, Irving
Music / Composer Bernstein, Leonard
Music / Composer Gershwin, George
Music / Composer Mendelsohn, Felix
Music / Composer / Musician Mendelsohn, Fanny
Music / Musician Perlman, Itzhak
Music / Opera Sills, Beverly
Philanhropist / Education / Civil Rights ActivistRosenwald, Julius
Pirate / American Patriot & Hero *Lafitte, Jean
Poet / Statue of Liberty Lazarus, Emma
Psychiatry Frankl, Viktor
Psychiatry Freud, Sigmund
Rabbi / First in Americas / Brazil Aboab
Rabbi / Frontier Cohen, Henry
Rabbi / Holocaust Baeck, Leo
Rabbi / Scholar Heschel, Abraham Joshua
Russian Revolution Gray, Bettyanne
Scientist / Nuclear Fission Meitner, Lise
Scientist / Physics Einstein, Albert
Scientist / Physics / Atom Bomb Oppenheimer, J. Robert
Scientist / Physics / Atom Bomb Bohr, Niels
Scientist / Physics / Hydrogen Bomb Teller, Edward
Singer of Protest Folk Songs / Writer Dylan, Bob
Social Worker / Nurse Wald, Lillian
Sports / Baseball Berg, Moe
Sports / Baseball Greenberg, Hank
Sports / Baseball Koufax, Sandy
Sports / Baseball *Pike, Lippman
Sports / Basketball / Harlem Globetrotters Klotz, Louis "Red"
Sports / Olympics Rosenfeld, Bobbie
Sports / Olympics / Ice Skating Cohen, Sasha
Sports / Olympics / Swimmer Spitz, Mark
Sunday Schools / Post Revolutionary War Gratz, Rebecca
Supreme Court Brandeis, Louis
Supreme Court Ginsburg, Ruth Bader
Talmud / Commentary Rashi
Talmud / Gaon Saadia Gaon
US / Banker / Revolutionary War Salomon, Haym
US / Navy Reformer / Saver of Monticello Levy, Uriah Phillips
US / Politician / Civil War Benjamin, Judah
US / Political Activist Goldman, Emma
US / Soldier / Civil War Mordecai, Major Alfred
US / West / Indians Meyer, Julius et. Al
Women / l7th Century / Memoir Writer Gluckel of Hamlin
Women / Feminist / US Friedan, Betty

*Young Adult information in background author and/or historical notes included in a picture book volume.