Written by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, Illustrated By Diana Bryer
What a wonderful book!
It starts as young Jacobo enjoys life with his grandmother (Abuelita) in a small town in New Mexico in the United States. Although the young boy and his grandmother love their community and are active in their Catholic church, some things do seem out of place to Jacobo. Abuelita cooks differently than her neighbors and she has her own special rituals, like lighting candles on Friday nights. When a new family moves into the neighborhood who are Jewish, Jacobo starts asking more questions and finds out about his family history – one that started with an exodus of Sephartic Jews from Spain, centuries ago.
This short but powerful tale written by a woman rabbi and scholar; Sandy Eisenberg Sasso, is a perfect way to begin discussions on topics such as multicultural families, Jewish history, tolerance, religious identity and family secrets.
Read it in Spanish:
Las Matzas Secretas de Abuelita by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso
Written by Michelle Edwards, Illustrated By Stacey Schuett
It’s really hard to celebrate a holiday after a loved one has passed away. And this family of a dad and two children miss their mom terribly as Chanukah approaches. Dad wants to come to the rescue and make the special treats – potato latkes – with his kids, but the experience is just not the same.
How does the family come to understand the miracle and beauty of the holiday, despite the sadness? This story weaves a wonderful, sweet, sensitive Chanukah tale.
Suggested Reading Level – Ages 5 – 7
A family prepares to celebrate Chanukah for the first time since Mama died — in this heartfelt, bittersweet tale that will resonate with anyone who has ever faced an empty chair at the holiday table.
Three plates, Selma reminded herself. Just three plates this Chanukah.
For Selma and her little sister, Dora, this is their first Chanukah without Mama. When Papa comes home carrying a big bag of potatoes and all the ingredients for latkes, Selma is worried. Mama always made the Chanukah latkes. Could they make them without her? In Michelle Edwards's poignant story, illustrated with Stacey Schuett's warmly glowing artwork, Selma comes to realize that while Chanukah — and especially latkes — will never be the same without Mama, Selma can still celebrate, and will always remember.
Written By Fran Manushkin, Illustrated By Robin Spowart
This is one of my favorite Hanukkah stories! Set in a cozy cottage in the woods, a family of four is preparing for Hanukkah and the weather becomes frightful. During this terrible blizzard the family cannot get their potatoes for latkes or any more apples for applesauce – special foods that are a welcome part of the Hanukkah celebration. Still the family is grateful each night as they prepare the candles and – lo and behold- out of the storm come some little miracles. And the little miracles lead the family to another rather miraculous discovery that means their holiday table will have all they need.
A lovely and special little story that makes you feel as if you were hearing an expert storyteller weave a delightful tale from times long past. Especially heart-warming for animal lovers, this tale involves a little stray cat and dog who not only find a home, but also a special name during this family’s beloved celebration of the festival of lights.
Suggested Reading Level – 5 and Up
NOTE ISBN MAY CHANGE FOR BKSHELF REISSUE. The beloved story of a joyous Hannukah celebration--reissued in Scholastic Bookshelf paperback!
The Menashe family enjoys a joyous holiday celebration despite a scarcity of food. Includes notes on Hanukkah, a bibliography, a recipe for making latkes, and rules for playing dreidel.
Written by Deborah Heiligman
This beautiful book, written by Deborah Heiligman, is part of a series by National Geographic that highlights holidays as they are experienced around the world with the type of accurate reporting and stunning photographs that you’d expect from this publication. In this book, the common elements of Hanukkah along with it’s history and background are shared as they are celebrated in a variety of countries and cultures ranging from Uganda, India, Israel, Egypt, Italy, Canada, Peru, Poland and the United States. For example, a picture of a lovely South Korean Hanukkah card is included here as well as photographs of children in Ghana playing dreidel in front of their family’s rural store. This short book is a wonderful and inspiring journey through Hanukkah celebrations and is as informative as it is enjoyable!
Among the other books in this wonderful Holidays Around the World series are: (Holidays Around the World) Celebrate Diwali: With Sweets, Lights, and Fireworks, (Holidays Around the World) Celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, (Holidays Around the World) Celebrate Kwanzaa: With Candles, Community, and the Fruits of the Harvest and (Holidays Around The World) Celebrate Christmas: With Carols, Presents, and Peace. If you are looking to learn more about any of these special and meaningful celebrations, these books make an excellent place to start.
In Celebrate Hanukkah Deborah Heiligman welcomes readers to a holiday celebrated by Jewish communities around the world.
The vivid photography of National Geographic illustrates the joyous celebrations of Jewish people around the world—including Ghana, Uganda, India, Israel, Peru, the United States and Poland, as they light menorahs, spin dreidels, and make latkes.
The richly informative back matter details many facts, such as the story of U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, who brought a menorah and a dreidel on his Space Shuttle mission in 1993. Hoffman observed the traditional spinning of the dreidel, but wisely left the menorah unlit in the proximity of several thousand liters of rocket fuel! Also included are the author's sure-to-please latke recipe, Hanukkah blessings, and a Hanukkah song.
A note from Rabbi Shira Stern, the book's consultant, sets the holiday in its global religious and cultural context.
National Geographic supports K-12 educators with ELA Common Core Resources.
Visit www.natgeoed.org/commoncore for more information.
Written By Linda Glaser, Illustrated by Nancy Cote
It’s the last day of Hanukkah and Rachel and her family are getting ready for quite a celebration when the phone rings. Guess what? More company. Rachel’s mom sends her to borrow potatoes for latkes and she runs over to visit her neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg. Although Mrs. Greenberg’s house if beautifully decorated, it’s clear to Rachel that she’s spending this special day alone.
Rachel asks her to join her family while borrowing potatoes. Mrs. Greenberg says “no”. Rachel asks her to join her family while borrowing eggs. Mrs. Greenberg says “no”. But Rachel won’t take no for an answer and finds a clever way of making it a happy, joyous holiday for all.
This book also has a wonderfully simple recipe for latkes – eat them in good health!
It's the last night of Hanukkah, and more relatives are coming than originally planned. Rachel decides to borrow potatoes from Mrs. Greenberg. She asks Mrs. Greenberg, who is all alone, to come for Hanukkah. But Mrs. Greenberg is very stubborn!
Written and Illustrated By Patricia Polacco
Trishia’s family lives in a rural area and loves getting ready for Hanukkah. There’s food to cook, presents to make and so much more. And when Trisha visits her neighbors who should be getting ready to celebrate Christmas – she finds that they are all sick and can’t get out of bed. Her neighbors have scarlet fever and it looks like the holidays will not come to their house at all. In this beautiful tale, friendship and the spirit of giving truly saves the day, leaving both families in awe of holiday miracles.
Based on a childhood memory from author and illustrator, Patricia Polacco, this book is a perfect read-aloud and poses a wonderful question – what can you do for your neighbors or your community this holiday season?
Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family's preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha's family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, "But what can we decorate them with?" Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa's carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees -- but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season.
Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.
Written by Judy Bastyra
Are you feeling crafty for the holidays? Judy Bastyra’s book will take you thorough some wonderful and wonderfully simple crafts and activities for a happy Hanukkah. This book teaches the history of Hanukkah shows you how to make (and bake) a dreidel, craft a Hanukkah shield and make delicious treats, lovely essential oils or a truly crazy candle.
Delightfully hands-on, this book shares creative ways to celebrate the holiday of lights. Excellent for those who are celebrating Hanukkah or for teachers, educators or parents looking for great ways to teach about the beauty of diverse holidays.
Begin the holiday by making a menorah, one with specially decorated candles. Have fun singing some holiday songs or playing with a newly crafted dreidl, and don't forget to send friends handmade Hanukkah cards you've made yourself.
Written by by Lesléa Newman
Illustration by Krysten Brooker
Everyone’s heard the poem that starts: “ Twas the Night Before Christmas, and all through the house…”. Well, this book has the story of it’s Hanukkah cousin. In this clever, silly and fun little book, it’s the night before Hanukkah and the whole family is getting ready for the celebration when a dreidel suddenly spins out of control. The glorious illustrations take you through a busy holiday home, a cityscape and then out to the country and up to the stars, all the while, sharing the most exciting and wonderful parts of a Hanukkah celebration.
This book is a delightful way to share the customs that make Hanuakkah such a beloved holiday. Clever rhymes and fanciful pictures are ideal for sharing with families who celebrate Hanukkah as well as classrooms where kids celebrate other holidays and want to know more about this bright and beautiful celebration.
Suggested Reading Level – Preschool and up
When a dreidel that takes off through a boy’s living room, the boy—and readers—are taken on a runaway adventure through city streets and along country roads, where modern times and history blend together in magical ways. This celebration of one of Chanukah’s most fun traditions—spinning the dreidel—is sure to be a welcome addition to this healthy holiday category.
Great books for counting and learning numbers coming soon!