Hanukkah Books

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The Stone Lamp: Eight Stories of Hanukkah Through History

By Karen Hesse
A collection of eight poems, each taking place on a different night of Hanukkah and following the history of Jews from twelfth-century England to twentieth-century Israel.

The story of Hanukkah is the story of triumph of light over darkness, of the small miracles that give hope to an entire people. In a series of eight powerful and evocative free-verse poems, Newbery Award winner Karen Hesse captures this resilient spirit of the Jewish people over hardship and horror, through the voices of eight children at Hanukkah. The children--from Tamara in twelfth century England and Jeremie in thirteenth century France, to Harva in seventeenth century Turkey and Ori in twentieth century Israel--have all experienced loss. But they are united by love, family, and their cherished stone lamp. The stone lamp provides each child with comfort and hope, for in its light the traditions of the Jewish people can never be extinguished.

Description from Publisher

Yes, it is a Hanukkah book. And no, it is not just a Hanukkah book. This beautifully designed volume, a picture book for older readers, presents eight vignettes from the long history of a persecuted people, each framed and accompanied by a free verse story told in the first person by a survivor. It's a gripping combination, compelling in its personalization of each sad chapter in Jewish history. Represented are the Crusades and York, England Massacre of 1190; the Burning of the Books by papal order in Paris, 1242; The Inquisition of Spain and Portugal, 1546; the Muslim forced conversions and the False Messiah, Turkey, 1666; the Pogroms of Russia, 1883; Kristallnacht, Austria, 1938; the British return of the ship Exodus to Germany, 1947; and the Assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel, 1995. These wrenching tales of tragedy, bravely illustrated in deep pigments by award-winning artist Pinkney, begin with Judah Maccabee's light-filled victory over the Syrians in 164 B.C.E. and end with the uplifting lines, "Sometimes a flame refuses to go out...So burns the Light of the Jewish People. So burn the Lights of Hanukkah." Truly a very special book to add to the portfolio of Newbery Medal winner and MacArthur Fellow Karen Hesse.

Description from Children's Literature

Chanukah Lights Everywhere

By Michael J. Rosen
One crescent moon glows in the sky. Two headlights shine through the window…. On each magical night of Chanukah, a young boy and his sister count more lights shining all around them! Join them as they discover what it means to celebrate Chanukah in a world filled with so many other lights. And look carefully at each of Melissa Iwai's delightfully playful illustrations, in which an ever-growing number of cats and cleverly hidden objects serve as reminders of each day's joyous Chanukah celebration!

This gentle and fun-filled exploration of the meaning of Chanukah reminds families everywhere that the warmth of the holiday extends far beyond the menorah. Full-color illustrations

Description from Publisher
Arielle and the Hanukkah Surprise
Arielle and the Hanukkah Surprise

By Devra Speregen and Shirley Newberger
This Hanukkah Arielle gets to light a candle on the menorah for the very first time. A heartwarming story that introduces the youngest child to the traditions of Hanukkah.

Description from Publisher

Arielle has high hopes for this Hanukkah because she is old enough to light the candles. She soon becomes disappointed when family member after family member is invited to light all of the candles until the last day. She believes someone else will have the honor until she is presented with her own menorah, because the last day is also her birthday. As a December baby, I was thrilled to see this topic finally addressed. Holiday anticipation can be disappointing for all children, not just those with December birthdays. A great discussion books for parents and children.

Description from Amazon.com Customer Review
Papa's Latkes
Papa's Latkes

By Jane Breskin Zalben
Another in Zalben's growing list of holiday books about Beni the Bear and his Jewish family. Because Mama doesn't want to make the traditional potato pancakes this year, the scene is set for a latke-making contest. Goldie, Max, Rosie, Leo, Blossom, and Molly each take a turn, but it isn't until Papa takes over that Beni declares a winner--Papa's latkes are the best. Zalben adds a touch of light comedy to the story, which concludes with the family's gathering to enjoy a few other holiday traditions with their pancake feast.

from Booklist

Hanukkah Cat

By Chaya M. Burstein
On the first night of Hanukkah, a shivering orange kitten appears at Lenny's window. He pleads to keep her, but his parents warn that a cat can cause all kinds of mischief. And Hanukkah Cat does! A favorite holiday story back in print with wonderful new pictures.

Description from Publisher

Hanukkah Lights
(Nifty Lift-And-Look Books)

By Ben Lakner

(Board Book)
As Sarah and Jason prepare for the Festival of Lights, kids can explore the history and customs of Hanukkah. In this informative Nifty Lift-and-Look Book, all eight nights of Hanukkah are visited and its rich traditions are highlighted as the reader explores the different flaps.

Description from Publisher
Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights
Hanukkah Lights, Hanukkah Nights
(Board Book)

By Leslie and John Kimmelman
A young reader's introduction to the symbols and traditions of Hanukkah is also a counting book that follows an extended family's joyful observance through the eight days.


By Jennifer Blizin Gillis
Few things light up our interest more than a party. In fact, celebrations form some of our earliest and most vivid impressions of the world. Candle Time shares those experiences. Each title explores a major festival featuring the element of light as it introduces children to traditional dress, food, presents, and more, as well as to the concept of culture.

A simple introduction to the symbols, celebration, and traditions of Hanukkah.

Description from Publisher

Toby Belfer Never Had a Christmas Tree

By Gloria Teles Pushker
Living in a small Louisiana town where hers is the only Jewish family, Toby Belfer gives a party for her friends in order to explain Hannukah, including the story of Judah Maccabee, the significance of the menorah, how to make potato latkes, and how to play the game of dreidel.

Description from Publisher

Also in the Toby Belfer Series:

Count the Days of Hanukkah

With a Lift-the-Flap Menorah Calendar Poster and Fifty Stickers

By Gail Herman
This festive story depicts a warm celebration of the eight nights of Hanukkah, with family members singing songs, playing dreidel, making latkes and applesauce, and acting out the story of the Maccabees. Includes a lift-the-flap menorah calendar poster and 50 stickers.

Description from Publisher

Celebrate Hanukkah With Me

By Shari Faden Donahue
Written in rhyme, young readers of all backgrounds will be enlightened by the message that differences among people are truly non-threatening when addressed with openess, sensitivity, and deeper understanding.

"Though our religions may be different, great friends we'll forever be-
Because I love to learn about you... and you love to learn about me."

Description from Amazon.com Reader Review
While the Candles Burn
While the Candles Burn

By Barbara Diamond Goldin
After an insightful look at the history of Hanukkah, Goldin offers eight brief stories, each expanding on one of the holiday's themes. She draws from Jewish folklore as well as the Bible and Talmud to weave tales that reflect the strength of faith, the anchoring role of tradition, the voice of women in Judaism, and the power of people's actions to bring about miracles. Two of the most compelling stories are rooted in history but set in contemporary times, giving an especially relevant spin to the holiday's lessons: In one, a lost soccer game and a forgotten lunch play a role in an Israeli youth's learning to trust his Arabic classmate; in the other, Leah's need to perform a good deed to fulfill a bat mitzvah requirement and a Holocaust survivor's testimony come together. The dramatically angular lines of Elaine Greenstein's prints painted over in gouache convey a childlike innocence in their composition and perspective. A stellar selection for Hanukkah festivities and collections.

from Booklist

Latkes and Applesauce :
A Hanukkah Story

By Fran Manushkin
A blizzard leaves a peasant family housebound at Hanukkah with the potatoes for latkes buried under the snowdrifts. There are no apples for applesauce, either, since the harvest was poor. But when the family takes in first a stray cat and later a stray dog, the two animals return the favor. On the eighth night of celebration, when the storm finally clears and the nearly starving group ventures out, the dog digs potatoes and the cat meows in the apple tree where apples are miraculously now hanging. This gentle story is well served by Spowart's earth-toned chalk illustrations that depict the family in rounded shapes with an economy of detail. An end note explains the holiday and gives directions for playing dreidel and an elaborate recipe for latkes.

Description from School Library Journal

In part, what makes Fran Manushkin's simple tale work so well is its scope. It is 'a Hanukkah story,' not--as so many holiday books tend to be--an attempt to pack an exhaustive lesson into the illustrated form. . . . For children, what more appealing messengers of G-d could there be than a cat and a dog?The animals bring the story to its just-right conclusion--a miracle of sorts.. . . The resolution is just one of many pieces that fit this story like a glove. Robin Spowart's evocative art is another. It is a minor miracle that heso effectively creates a dark, cold world, . . . yet warms the reader with the light of the candles and the reflected glow on the characters' faces.

Description from New York Times Book Review

Crafts for Hanukkah
(Holiday Crafts for Kids)

By Kathy Ross
Ross continues her holiday series with this book, which draws not only on themes and elements associated with the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah--dreidels, menorahs, etc.--but also on symbols that are part of year-round practice, such as yarmulkes and the Star of David. The projects associated with games--among them, a button-flipping game called latkes in the pan--stretch the holiday concept. However, the text is clear enough for handy youngsters to follow easily, the graphics are cheerful, if not step-by-step, and the projects can be adapted to several age levels. Enough to fill a void in holiday crafts collections.

Description from Booklist

Fun Shapes Chanukah

By Frank Daniel
A square becomes a box of Chanukah gelt and a dreidel in this delightful, die-cut board book with simple text and full-color illustrations by the author.

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