FAVORITE HANUKKAH BOOKS FOR KIDS
What are some wonderful choices for books about celebrating Hanukkah? Here are my seven of my favorites for young readers this year.
Do you want to know more about Hanukkah as it is celebrated around the world? Check out National Geographic’s “Celebrate Hanukkah” as part of their Holidays Around the World Series. Feeling crafty? Hanukkah Fun: Great Things To Make and Do is full of fantastic ideas. Want to cozy up with a story that warms your heart and takes you away to the “old country”? Pick up Latkes and Applesauce. Feeling silly or whimsical? Check out how the run-away dreidel turns the night before Hanukkah into a truly wild poetic ride. Are the holidays all about family and community for you? Then you might like to laugh and read about how one little girl saves the holiday for her older neighbor in The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes.
Lastly, will you or someone you know be celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas? If so, both of these books will delight. Light The Lights and Trees of the Dancing Goats both share stories of families that make holiday magic happen for those who celebrate both special days.
Here’s the more detailed reviews of these books for you to check out.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Emma lives in a bustling city and has been watching the days get shorter and darker. People hurry by getting ready for both Christmas and Hanukkah. One cold winter day her Dad tells her it’s time to get out the menorah and her family and extended family’s celebration of Hanukkah begins. Later that same month, her mother takes down some beautiful boxes and tells Emma, it’s time to get the Christmas tree. Her whole family shares Christmas preparations with more neighbors and friends. This quiet little tale shares a thoughtful approach to respecting and cherishing both sets of holiday customs instead of choosing between them.
Perfect for reading aloud in a classroom or library to start a discussion about holiday customs and how they can be shared in a way that respects and values all participants. I especially love the last line of the book telling how the young girl has a lasting memory of the joy of both celebrations. It tells us that she remembers “the bright lights of both celebrations long after the dark winter nights are gone.”
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!
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?