Review: How To Be A Mensch, by A Monster

How to Be a Mensch by A. Monster

by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa

Apples & Honey Press (imprint of Behrman House), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Sarah Aronson

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In this delightful and perky picture book directed to young readers and families, the main character and narrator, A. Monster, gives readers direct advice for how to be a mensch. The humorous text speaks directly to the reader.

"It's hard to believe, but some people are afraid of monsters.
It's true that monsters can look scary.
But most of us are kind and helpful.
Monsters can even be mensches!"

I love funny books! Our kids deserve to laugh—even as they grapple with challenges of the world.

On each spread, readers will love the monster-specific examples (like not staring, with one eye or five) as well as general concepts, like sharing and caring and preparing for Shabbat.

Yoshikawa’s illustrations amp up the humor. Young readers are going to love checking out the menschy monsters on every page.

The book ends with a question directly for young readers: "What kind of mensch will you be?" This will certainly start conversations for families. When it comes to our world today, what could be more important than figuring out how to be a mensch? This may book may seem like a fun romp with  monsters, but it speaks to the responsibilities we all share without getting didactic. Leslie Kimmelman and A. Monster are right: Even the smallest acts of kindness can make a difference!

How To Be A Mensch is recommended for families introducing young children to the idea of social action and repairing the world. It is a cute and funny book with strong Jewish values.
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Reviewer Sarah Aronson began writing when someone in an exercise class dared her to try. Her books include Beyond Lucky, The Wish List series, Just Like Rube Goldberg, illustrated by Robert Neubecker, Brand New Bubbe (out this August, with illustrations by Ariel Landy) as well as a forthcoming picture book biography of Bella Abzug, titled Abzuglutely! 
When Sarah is not writing or reading (or riding her bike), she loves working with other writers at The Highlights Foundation and If you like writing tips and prompts, subscribe to her weekly newsletter at