There's a Book for That: Hanukkah
This year, Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, began at sundown on Sunday, December 2nd and will last until sundown on Monday, December 10th. Hanukkah is Hebrew for “dedication” and commemorates the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and restoring its menorah, or lamp. The “miracle” of Hanukkah is that only one vial of oil was found with just enough oil to illuminate the Temple lamp for one day, and yet it lasted for eight full days. As families gather to light the menorah, enjoy latkes, and exchange gifts, we are highlighting the following popular Hanukkah titles for young readers:
ALL-OF-A-KIND FAMILY HANUKKAH by Emily Jenkins, Paul O. Zelinsky
The beloved characters from Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind Family return in this heartwarming picture book from a critically adored team—perfect for Hanukkah gift-giving! First published in 1951, Taylor’s chapter books have become time-honored favorites, selling over a million copies and touching generations of readers. In this time when immigrants often do not feel accepted, the All-of-a-Kind Family gives a heartwarming glimpse of a Jewish immigrant family and their customs that is as relevant—and necessary—today as when it was first written. Jenkins and Zelinsky’s charming compliment to Taylor’s series perfectly captures the warmth and family values that made the original titles classics.
MEET THE LATKES by Alan Silberberg
Imagine James Marshall’s The Stupids celebrating Hanukkah, and you’d get the Latke family! Lucy Latke’s family is just like yours or mine. Except that they’re potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After they light the menorah and gobble the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It’s up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight. (To start with, they were Maccabees, not Mega Bees…) But he’ll have to get the rest of the Latkes to listen to him first!
YITZI AND THE GIANT MENORAH by Richard Ungar
Children and adults will love this beautiful story about the magic of Hanukkah. On the eve of Hanukkah, the People of Chelm have received a special gift from the Mayor of Lublin. A giant menorah in which they place in the square for all they admire. Every night, the villagers meet to watch the lighting of a candle on the menorah. And every night, the villagers ponder what is the most fitting way to thank the Mayor of Lublin? The villagers come up with idea after idea, but their gift never quite reaches the Mayor. What will they do? Finally, on the last night of Hanukkah, Yitzi has an idea to orchestrate the surprise thank you gift.
HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS: 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Eric A. Kimmel, Trina Schart Hyman
A Caldecott Honor book.
On the first night of Hanukkah, a weary traveler named Hershel of Ostropol eagerly approaches a village, where plenty of latkes and merriment should warm him. But when he arrives not a single candle is lit. A band of frightful goblins has taken over the synagogue, and the villagers cannot celebrate at all! Hershel vows to help them. Using his wits, the clever trickster faces down one goblin after the next, night after night. But can one man alone save Hanukkah and live to tell the tale? This 25th anniversary edition includes an insightful afterword from the author and publisher explaining the book’s origins and remembering Trina Schart Hyman, the illustrator who brought the tale to life.
HANUKKAH BEAR by Eric A. Kimmel, Mike Wohnoutka
2013 National Jewish Book Award Winner
Bubba Brayna’s legendary latkes lure an unexpected visitor into her home in this playful Hanukkah tale from a master storyteller. Lively illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka, portraying the sprightly Bubba Brayna and her very hungry guest, accompany this instant family favorite, a humorous reworking of Eric A. Kimmel’s earlier classic tale, The Chanukkah Guest. A traditional recipe for latkes is included in the back matter, along with interesting, digestible facts about the history and traditions of Hanukkah.
THE STORY OF HANUKKAH by David A. Adler, Jill Weber
Hanukkah is a wonderful time filled with games, food, family, and fun. It’s also the celebration of an ancient miracle, and retelling and remembering the story of that miracle is an essential part of the holiday, for young and old. The story of the courageous Maccabees is retold in simple yet dramatic text, accompanied by vibrant paintings of the battle, the Temple of Jersualem, and the oil which miraculously burned for eight long nights.
DREIDELS ON THE BRAIN by Joel Ben Izzy
At last a great American Hanukkah story! This very funny, very touching novel of growing up Jewish has the makings of a holiday classic. One lousy miracle. Is that too much to ask? Evidently so for Joel, as he tries to survive Hannukah, 1971 in the suburbs of Los Angeles. That’s no small task when you’re a “seriously funny-looking” twelve-year-old magician who dreams of being his own superhero. And Joel’s a long way from that as the only Jew at Bixby School, where his attempts to make himself disappear fail spectacularly. Home is no better, with a family that’s not just mortifyingly embarrassing but flat-out broke. That’s why Joel’s betting everything on these eight nights, to see whether it’s worth believing in God or miracles or anything at all.
HOLIDAYS AROUND THE WORLD: CELEBRATE HANUKKAH WITH LIGHT, LATKES, AND DREIDELS by Deborah Heiligman
With dazzling images and engaging text, readers learn about the historical and cultural significance of Hanukkah and why it is celebrated around the world. From the lighting of the menorah to the special foods that are shared to the spinning of the dreidels, they’ll get insights about this holiday’s traditions and the Jewish faith.
To learn more about these titles and related titles visit Hanukkah
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