Hanukkah Books

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The Magic Menorah :
A Modern Chanukah Tale

By Jane Breskin Zalben
Stanley Green, 12, doesn't look forward to Chanukah. Every year his house is overrun with annoying relatives, and his grandfather, who normally tells the best stories, gets quiet and sad. This year turns out to be different, though. Stanley is sent to the attic to get a package for his grandfather. In it, he finds a tarnished old menorah. As the boy cleans it up, a shabby little old man appears, demands a nosh, and offers three wishes if Stanley can answer three riddles. Stanley doesn't get the right answers, but Fishel lets him wish anyway. Of course, each wish turns out far differently than Stanley anticipates. He learns that Fame and Fortune come in many forms, and realizes that Happiness has been his all along. He also learns something about his family history and why his grandfather is so sad at Chanukah. This short, simple chapter book is filled with details about traditions of the holiday. Hebrew and Yiddish words are sprinkled liberally throughout, with a glossary at the end. The realistic illustrations, vignettes with text wrapped around them, nicely support the story. An entertaining read-aloud that could easily be adapted as a play or reader's theater script

Description from School Library Journal

The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes

By Linda Glaser
Of the many joys of Hanukkah, the joining of family and friends is perhaps the greatest. This is why young Rachel and her family are especially eager to have their dear elderly neighbor Mrs. Greenberg over for Hanukkah dinner. But every year their neighbor refuses, not wanting to be a bother. One year, on the last night of Hanukkah, Rachel's mother discovers that she has run out of potatoes for the latkes. Maybe Mrs. Greenberg will come for dinner if we borrow some of her potatoes, suggests Rachel. And off she runs into the snowy purple night to see if her plan will work. Author Linda Glaser has a keen understanding of a child's perspective: "Mrs. Greenberg's house was always clean and tidy, like its face was just scrubbed and its blouse was tucked in, while Rachel's house always looked like it was still in its pajamas and needed to brush its hair yet." Rachel succeeds in procuring the potatoes, but it takes a "stubborn-as-an-ox" girl to get a "stubborn-as-an-ox" woman to share their Hanukkah dinner. Rachel's ingenious eventual entrapment of Mrs. Greenberg -- along with her rosy red cheeks and unruly orange braids -- make her an excellent ambassador for a story about the heart of Hanukkah. Lively, cartoonish illustrations by Nancy Cote enliven this already vivacious holiday tale.

Description from Amazon.com

Rachel and her mother are busy preparing for their Hanukkah celebration. When eight more people are suddenly added to the guest list and there are no more potatoes in the cellar, Rachel goes next door to borrow some from Mrs. Greenberg. Every year the elderly woman is invited to join the girl's family, but she always refuses. This year, she is delighted to lend the potatoes, and then some eggs, and finally chairs until Rachel has an idea. If Mrs. Greenberg won't come to them for Hanukkah, they'll just have to borrow her house and take the celebration to her. The lively watercolor illustrations add to the joy as smiling family members, with slightly elongated, constantly waving arms and long legs, fill the pages with motion and energy. Rachel's wide-eyed, pig-tailed innocence belies her understanding that Mrs. Greenberg is a lonely neighbor who still needs someone with whom to share the holiday. A lovely message, wrapped in a lighthearted story.

Description from School Library Journal

Chanukah
(Rookie Read-About Holidays)

By David F. Marx
Many teachers and librarians are familiar with the "Rookie Reader" books. They contain engaging stories and offer kids a chance to move quickly through several levels of independent reading. A new series in this collection introduces early elementary readers to six holidays. The pattern in each book is the same. The opening sentence asks the reader if he or she celebrates the featured holiday. This is followed by a brief history of the holiday and information about the way that it is currently celebrated accompanied by fullcolor illustrations. In this title, readers learn that Chanukah is a religious holiday celebrated by Jewish peopleone that emphasizes the importance of family and friends and sharing with others. The book closes with a picture list entitled "Words You Know" that reiterates sections of the text and an index.

Description from Children's Literature

Hanukkah Fun for Little Hands

By Katherine J. Kahn
Simple Hanukkah crafts and activities for little ones. Make dreidel decorations, read the picture-story of Hanukkah, and have fun with the full-color playing cards.

Description from Publisher

Let's Play Dreidel
(Includes Cassette and Toy)

By Roz Grossman
A book, a tape, and a dreidel, all packed in a handy plastic tote. Learn to play the spinning game; enjoy your favorite dreidel songs on cassette; and test your skills with the sturdy, wooden dreidel.

Description from Publisher

Who'll Light the Chanukah Candles?

By Dandi Daley Mackall
Besides playing dreidel, eating latkes, and singing songs, everyone wants a turn to hold the shamash and light the Chanukah candles. You can celebrate the holiday by decorating with the shimmery foil stickers anywhere that needs a little Chanukah warmth!

Description from Publisher


Children will delight in this charming Chanukah story. The narrator eagerly awaits the start of Chanukah. As the holiday progresses, she consistently wonders, "Who'll light the Chanukah candles?". Each night, she watches her cousin Randall get the upper hand in everything from a game of dreidel to getting all the gelt (all of the narrator's gelt melts). Finally, on the last night, Randall asks the narrator to light the candles. Children will love the short sentence structure, lyrical rhymes, and shiny Chanukah stickers. Children will identify with the family rivalry between the narrator and her cousin. An excellent choice for preschoolers.

Lori's Description

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!
(Board Book)

By Miriam Sagasti
Animals galore light the menorah and dance the horah to "remind us of days long ago." Words/music to popular folksong.

Description from Publisher


Animals and children celebrate Hanukkah in this charming board book. The words to the popular song "Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah" provide the text to the book. Illustrations are bright and engaging; children will find something new each time the story is read. The book includes sheet music to the song on the back cover.

Lori's Description

Chanukah Lights
(Night Glow Board Book)

By Judith Moffatt
Rhyming couplets explain the holiday in Judith Moffet's Chanukah Lights. Stories, songs, spinning dreidels and fried latkes lend a festive feel. This addition to the Night Glow board books series boasts collage illustrations with glow-in-the-dark accents.

Description from Publishers Weekly

Miracle Meals :
Eight Nights of Food 'N Fun for Chanukah

By Madeline Wikler and Judyth Saypol Groner
Similar in format and scope to Matzah Meals by Judy Tabs and Barbara Steinberg, this companion volume provides recipes and games for Chanukah. Recipes are written clearly, and symbols rate each one for degree of difficulty and label each for Kashruth (meat, dairy, or pareve). Each recipe also pictorally depicts the kitchen equipment necessary. There are enough recipes for the eight days of the holiday, including easy and difficult versions for traditional "latkes" (potato pancakes) and "suf ganiyot" (donuts). Other recipes carry through the Chanukah theme, including "Candle Salad" and "menorah sandwich." Directions for cutting and ar ranging a plain sheet cake into either a menorah or a dreidel shape are clear and clever. Directions for playing drei del and other appropriate games are included. This is a lively, entertaining book that will fill a need where practical celebratory information on this holiday is needed.

Description from School Library Journal

The Miracle of the Potato Latkes :
A Hanukkah Story

By Malka Penn
Reinforcing the idea of Hanukkah as a celebration of miracles, Penn gives us a particularly fanciful version of the holiday legend in which a small amount of oil for the menorah lasted for eight days. In Penn's story, it's potatoes, not oil, that are in short supply. Every year at Hanukkah time, Tante Golda removes eight potatoes from her barrel to make the "most delicious latkes in all of Russia," which she shares with all her friends. When a drought leaves her with only one potato at holiday time, she's unable to have her traditional feast. Instead, she shares her only potato with a beggar, a good deed that causes Tante Golda's luck to change.

The plot is well devised and recounted with verve, and Carmi's illustrations, with their subdued colors and broad, visible brush strokes, effectively evoke a hardscrabble, Eastern European atmosphere, ripe for wondrous things to occur. Tante Golda's latke recipe rounds things out.

Description from Booklist

The Eight Nights:
A Chanukah Counting Book

By Jane Bearman
The numbers 1 through 8 introduce various facts about the feast of Chanukah.

Lively rhymes and exquisite full-color graphics depict all the delights of Chanukah. The three blessings for the candles, in English and Hebrew transliteration, and the words and music to some simple songs are included

What Is Hanukkah?
(Lift-The-Flap Story)

By Harriet Ziefert
Why do we light the menorah? What do the letters on the dreidel mean? Josh learns about the miracles that happened a long time ago, and how the traditions of Hanukkah are continued today. The lift-the-flap format makes this introduction to a special holiday accessible to the youngest child.

Description from Publisher

For young children who wonder about this holiday, there's Ziefert's What is Hanukkah? As Josh's mother prepares for the first night of Hanukkah, he questions what the holiday means. There follows a very clear explanation by his parents and the illustrations and objects behind the flaps help with the telling. Some of the book's flaps open to reveal history, the rest show holiday he fun-dreidel, latkes and gelt. The book's warm cartooning places a mix of fun and religion in a family context.

Description from Children's Literature
Hanukkah
Hanukkah

(A Chubby Board Book)

By Alan Benjamin
A toddler's introduction to the holiday includes all its highlights -- from dreidel to latkes to the menorah. A delightful new holiday board book in the popular chubby format -- bright, sturdy, and sized just right for little hands.

Yesterday's Santa and the Chanukah Miracle

By Sarah Hartt-Snowbell
Annie can't believe her eyes! The "Santa" in the mall looks so much like her grandfather's friend, Simon. A Jewish Santa? Annie lines up to get a closer look—and ends up "placing an order". Simon Greenbaum, flat broke, has taken the job at the Winter Castle to earn a few dollars between jobs, he tells her. And after all, with his long white beard, he looks just like Santa already. "Don't breathe a word to your Zaideh that you saw me here," he says. "If you don't tell him that I'm a Santa Claus, I won't tell him what you asked for. It's a deal?"

When Annie's parents find out, however, that she has placed an order with Santa for a Christmas tree, they are disappointed and tell Annie that she must learn to be her own person and stand up for her own beliefs in order to earn the respect of others.

Meanwhile, Annie wants to help Mr. Greenbaum and comes up with a plan. But to carry out her plan, she must reveal his secret. What will she do? At the Chanukah meal that evening, Annie explains to her cousins that Mr. Greenbaum is out of work, and the children all agree to give him their Chanukah gelt, which they have just received. When Annie returns to the mall with the money the next day, she finds that Simon Greenbaum has been fired from his job for not being able to name Santa's reindeer, but, in what seems to be a miracle to Simon, he is given a job in Menswear instead. He is so happy that in an exchange of Chanukah gifts, Simon gives Annie some gelt and she gives him what she has collected.

This delightful picture book, illustrated beautifully by Patty Gallinger, is a story of acceptance, religious freedom and the act of giving (tzedakah). By combining the festivities of two holidays, Hartt-Snowbell teaches us a lesson in tolerance and charity which should appeal to any child six and up.

Description from Publisher

On Hanukkah

By Cathy Goldberg Fishman
With the voice of a young girl participating in the nightly rituals of Hanukkah, Cathy Goldberg Fishman introduces children to the history and beliefs behind this eight-day Jewish celebration. Starting with the first night of Hanukkah she lights a menorah candle with the "helper candle called the shammash." When her mother speaks of the Assyrian soldiers who captured the Jews' Holy Temple and put out the eternal light of the menorah, the young girl thinks of the Jewish people "who fought for many years to rededicate the temple and bring the light back." Later, while playing dreidel on the seventh night, the girl's grandfather tells the story of Jews not being allowed to "celebrate our religion or read our holy books. Jews who did not want the light of our knowledge lost would still get together and study. They played the game of dreidel to disguise what they were doing." And so the family puts the menorahs in a window to be "a light of knowledge in the darkness." Melanie W. Hall's soft and slightly abstract illustrations spotlight specific symbols of Hanukkah, such as potato latkes or chocolate gelt, while offering festive spreads of family cheer and togetherness. This is teaching at its best: giving children a familiar and beautifully illustrated context for absorbing complicated ideas such as symbolism, persecution, and the joy that comes from religious freedom.

Description from Amazon.com


A young girl describes what she sees, hears, and smells as her family celebrates Hanukkah. In keeping with the themes of the holiday, the narrator always relates what she observes to the light in the Temple during the time of the Maccabees. Soft illustrations further demonstrate the warmth associated with the holiday. An excellent choice for preschoolers who are beginning to understand the nuances of Hanukkah.

Lori's Description


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