Linda Silver, AJL GCC member and editor of the Jewish Values Finder, has created a list of new Hanukkah books. The list is perfect for collection development or for shopping for gifts.
Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel. Illus. by Amy Cartwright. Price Stern Sloan. Preschool. The familiar words of the children’s Hanukkah song flow along the pages of this charmingly illustrated board book. There’s a nice surprise waiting at the end: a pop-up scene with a spinning menorah.
Eight Winter Nights by Laura Kraus Melmed. Illus. by Elizabeth Schlossberg. Chronicle. Preschool-Kdg. Short verses tell the story of a family’s enjoyment of Hanukkah, from lighting the menorah to singing, dancing, eating, and giving tzedakah. The pencil and pastel illustrations in shades of rust and magenta bathe the story in a warm, cozy light. End notes give background on the holiday and its traditions.
Hanukkah. Preschool. On the right side of each double page spread of this novelty book is an animated window of a menorah with flickering candles, gelt dropping into a bowl, a spinning dreidel, latkes being flipped, and a scroll saying “Happy Hanukkah.” Facing each animated window is one sentence about the image in the window while on the last double page spread are some brief facts about Hanukkah. The heavy pages, bright colors, simple text, and animated images are all appealing as a very simple introduction to some Hanukkah symbols.
The Hanukkah Trike by Michelle Edwards. Illus. by Kathryn Mitter. Albert Whitman. Kdg. – Gr. 2. A little girl named Gabi is thrilled to receive a new tricycle at the end of the first night of Hanukkah. She names it “Hanukkah” but is daunted when she tries to ride it and falls off. The story of the Maccabees inspires her to persevere and her success is captured in bright paintings as well as in a rather bland text.
Happy Hanukkah Lights by Jacqueline Jules. Illus. by Michelle Shapiro. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Preschool. Rhymes, counting, and Jewish traditions are combined in this board book that shows a family’s joyful Hanukkah celebrations on all eight nights. The illustrations are cheerful and child-like.
Jackie’s Gift: A True Story of Christmas, Hanukkah, and Jackie Robinson by Sharon Robinson. Illus. by E. B. Lewis. Viking. Gr. 1-4. When young Steve Satlow helps his neighbors, the family of the baseball great, Jackie Robinson, trim their Christmas tree, he tells them that his family has no tree of their own. Not realizing that the Satlows are Jewish, Jackie delivers them one. After a few awkward moments, the Satlows decide that for this year only, they’ll have both a menorah and a Christmas tree. Jackie Robinson’s daughter wrote this handsomely illustrated story based on real events and it abounds with friendship and understanding.
The Kvetch Who Stole Hanukkah by Bill Berlin and Susan Isakoff Berlin. Illus. by Peter J. Welling. Pelican. Preschool-Kdg. There is no joy in Oyville when the local kvetch steals all of the menorahs. But fear not: the town’s brave children confront the old man, regale him with the story of the Macabbees and the true meaning of Hanukkah, and accomplish a miracle by opening the kvetch’s heart and mind to the joy of the holiday. Unpolished but energetic illustrations abound in a zany story that is meant to remind children of Dr. Seuss’s Grinch.
Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley. Illus. by David Harrington. Kar-Ben/Lerner. Kdg. – Gr. 3. The story of how Judah and the Maccabees fought the tyrant Antiochus for the religious freedom of the Jews and the restoration of the Temple is retold in this animated rhyme punctuated by a repeated refrain: “Sometimes it only takes a few, / Who know what’s right, and do it, too.” The rhythmic narrative is enhanced by bold paintings and would lend itself to readers’ theatre.
ASSOCIATION OF JEWISH LIBRARIES
Click HANUKKAH BOOKS FROM VALUESFINDER to download a copy of this list that you can print and distribute at your library.