AGAWAM – PJ Library, known for sending free books that celebrate Jewish values and culture to children worldwide, will launch PJ Library Presents, a podcast network featuring two new free podcasts for kids this fall. “Afternoons with Mimi” and “Beyond the Bookcase” both bring well-known stories of all types to life in a fun new way that connects them to Jewish traditions, culture, holidays, and values. On the go or at home, families can now listen to Jewish stories everywhere with PJ Library Presents podcasts.
First up from the storytellers at PJ Library comes an afternoon with the ultimate storyteller: everyone’s favorite warm and spunky grandmother, Mimi. Kids 2 to 5 and their families are invited to listen to the “Afternoons with Mimi” podcast and join Mimi for an afternoon of snacks and stories ranging from favorite PJ Library books to Jewish folktales and new original fables that will capture the imaginations of young and old alike. “PJ Library Presents: Afternoons with Mimi” premieres on October 4 on pjlibrary.org/podcast and your favorite podcast streaming platforms.
Next, PJ Library Presents “Beyond the Bookcase.” Developed for kids ages 6 to 12, “Beyond the Bookcase” features the serialized adventures of intrepid siblings Micah and Miri and their friends as they explore the magical land of Mashal, where familiar fairy tales come to life in unexpected and hilarious ways – weaving Jewish holidays and traditions with an exciting mystery that unravels week after week, “PJ Library Presents: Beyond the Bookcase” premieres October 18, also on pjlibrary.org/podcast and your favorite podcast streaming platforms.
In the debut episode of “Beyond the Bookcase,” Miri and her exhausted brother Micah stumble upon a strange, dusty copy of a book called “The Tortoise and the Hare: A Shabbat Story” at the synagogue library. When they open the book, the kids are transported to a magical land where Tortoise and Hare are preparing to run a ridiculous obstacle course race with Snow White, Humpty Dumpty, and all their other favorite fairy tale characters. The children are left to wonder: Where are they? How do they get home? What does the Tortoise and the Hare story have to do with Shabbat? When they end up taking part in the story unfolding in front of them, Miri and Micah learn the benefits of taking time to rest.
“Afternoons with Mimi,” also kicks off with a story about Shabbat, featuring a reading of “The Sabbath Lion,” a folktale from Algeria as retold by Howard Schwartz and Barbara Rush and published as a picture book by PJ Publishing. In the tale, young Yosef is abandoned by an untrustworthy caravan leader who won’t keep his promise to obey the Sabbath, when a magnificent lion appears and comes to his aid.
And with Chanukah coming early this year, kids can join Mimi on Nov. 1 for a plate of sufganiyot and to hear the story of Judah Maccabee. Then on Nov. 15 follow the next adventure of Miri and Micah when they and their friends are transported back to Mashall to help Jack Be Nimble find the courage to jump over a hanukkiyah full of candles.
Produced by a PJ Library creative team headed by Alli Thresher, “Afternoons with Mimi” and “Beyond the Bookcase” offer a fresh way to share Jewish culture and ideals with children through screen-free entertainment at its best. As Alex Zablotsky, Managing Director of PJ Library, says, “It’s PJ Library’s mission to reach kids and families with stories that celebrate Jewish values and culture, and podcasts are such a fantastic way for families to enjoy story time together in those small but busy moments throughout the day, whether they’re carpooling to school, preparing dinner, or settling down for bedtime. We’re so excited to share these two new podcasts from PJ Library Presents with kids and families around the world.”