Hanukkah is a holiday celebrated in December for 8 days. The start date might change which begins each year on the 25th day of the Jewish month. This day is also spelled Chanukah. For centuries, Jewish people have had to fight for their religious freedom. Hanukkah is such a special time because they can reflect and remember the story of the Maccabees. These warriors stood up for their religion.
Today families all across the world celebrate this holiday with food cooked with oil, light the Menorah, play games, gather, and enjoy the blessings they have. These children’s books below are a window into this celebration.
Light the Menorah!, A Hanukkah Handbook by Jacqueline Jules
A nonfiction picture book explaining what occurs on each night and what happened historically on each night of Hanukkah. This story provides a holistic explanation on why and how Jewish members celebrate during this time. Book also has recipes and crafts to celebrate this holiday.
Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg
A family celebrates Hanukkah with dosas, mango lassi, and the Menorah. A boy’s younger sister is a climber. While the family prepares for their celebration, his little sister climbs and climbs. To get his sister’s attention, he signs a song, and she climbs down. On the day of Hanukkah, the boy and his family were locked out of their home. He was able to sing a song to his sister and she climbed into the small opened window to let them in, saving Hanukkah.
A Hanukkah with Mazel, by Joel Edward Stein
Misha is a poor artist. One day a cat was found in his barn. Misha cared for the cat and named her Mazel. Misha did not have enough candles to light up for Hanukkah so he painted the menorah and candle lights each night of Hanukkah. Mazel became his good friend where they ate Latkes and Mazel drank milk. Misha, the artist, enjoys his Hanukkah with his new friend Mazel.
Little Red Ruthie, A Hanukkah Tale, by Gloria Koster
This treasured story of Little Red Riding Hood is written to celebrate Hanukkah. Ruthie had to take a stroll to her grandmother’s house to make Latkes for Hanukkah. On her walk, a wolf threatened to eat her, but she tricked the wolf that he could eat her after she was stuffed 8 days later after her Hanukkah meals. The wolf ended up pretending to be Ruthie’s grandmother, just like the original story. However at the end, Ruthie tricked the wolf and he was too stuffed from her latkes to eat her.
Meet the Latkes, by Alan Silberberg
Latkes are potatoes that are grated down and fried that families eat during the Hanukkah celebration. A fictitious family of Latkes discuss the origins of Hanukkah. A grandfather tells his family why it is important to decorate the house, why he says Chanukah over Hanukkah, and most importantly why Hanukkah is celebrated. It is celebrated to commemorate the Maccabees who fought for religious freedom from a dubious king. The menorah is burned for 8 days, because the Jews who won against the king witnessed their oil lamp burning for 8 days when they did not have enough oil for 8 days. This was considered a miracle and that is how Hanukkah began.
All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, by Emily Jenkins
A story inspired from other books by Sydney Taylor.
It is 1912 in New York’s Lower East Side. Gertie’s four sisters and mother prepare the meal for Hanukkah. Gertie is four and she wants to help in the kitchen. However, when everyone is stirring, grating, whipping, and mixing, Gertie watches with delight. Gertie tries so hard to help, but Mama takes her out of the kitchen because she knows Gertie cannot help. Even though Gertie is sad, she listens to her sisters preparing. When Papa gets home he surprises her and lets Gertie light the first candle on the menorah.
The Missing Letters, A Dreidel Story by Renee Londner
Dreidels are a cultural element to the celebration of Hanukkah. Dreidel letters are personified. These letters live in a dreidel makers shop. When they are made they think that Nobody likes them because the dreidel does not stop on them. So the next day the dreidel maker discovers the letters on each dreidel are missing. To comfort his helper, he discusses why the dreidel is so significant during Hanukkah. Once the missing letters discovered their importance, they changed their minds and reappear on the dreidels.
A nonfiction text describing how Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday. Story explains the significance of lighting the menorah, whey eating foods made with oil is significant, and more. You can get a glimpse into this wonderful celebration.