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6 Picture Books for Chanukah

Last night our Jewish friends began their celebration of the miracle of Chanukah.  Although my husband and I are not Jewish, most of my family is. And we want the children to learn about festivals, beliefs, and traditions from other culture.

Whether you are celebrating Chanukah or just want to share these books with your kids, here are 6 children’s picture books about Chanukah! Maybe next year I will have eight!

Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah, by Tilda Balsly – The illustrations and rhyming text tell a story of daring! and adventure! and also important values. The repeated refrain is: “Sometimes it only takes a few, Who know what’s right, and do it too.” Older kids will love this version of the story.

The Hanukkah Hop!, by Erica Silverman – What a fun, modern take on a Hanukkah celebration with a bit of Yiddish sprinkled in! A family gets ready for their out-of-town guests and enjoys a lively party. The emphasis is on family traditions and fun.

The Story of Hanukkah, by David A. Adler – Exactly what you would expect from the title: a simple retelling of the story of Hanukkah. The illustratinos evoke, without copying, the ancient Near Eastern styles of art. At the back, you find a recipe for Latkes and instructions on how to play dreidel.

Where Is Baby’s Dreidel?: A Lift-the-Flap Book, by Karen Katz – Katz’s lift-the-flap books are always a hit with toddlers and babies. In this book, baby searches for the dreidel and finds other Chanukah-related objects along the way.

It’s Hanukkah! – This rhyming translation of a Hebrew children’s song is illustrated by Santiago Cohen. We enjoyed the beautiful and loving family scenes as well as the foil flames on the candles. On each page, a new candle is lit, both accurately showing the tradition of the menorah as well as giving young children counting practice. The lyrics also introduce the name for the center candle (shammash), the letters on the dreidel, and even mentions the Maccabees.

Hanukkah Lights, by David Martin – This little board book describes activities, some traditional others just generically celebratory, for each of the nights of Hanukkah. The book is very basic but the menorah, latkes, and Dreidel are all there, along with illustrations of happy, multicultural children. The book is good introduction for babies and young toddlers.

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Candace Lindemann, Yale, BA, Harvard Graduate School of Education, EdM, is an educational consultant and published writer. She enjoys new learning experiences with her children, ages 6 and 4 and 1.5.

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture · Tags: , , ,

2 Responses to "6 Picture Books for Chanukah"

  1. […] to create their own festival to celebrate the birth of Christ. I’ve just stumbled across this great review on some books to read to your child during Hanukkah – you’ll find these book for sale […]

  2. Hi thanks for these book reviews. I’ve just added a link to this page from out article on our hanukkah celebration we did this last year.