Jewish Life

What’s new for kids to read at Chanukah?

By Penny Schwartz


All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah

Emily Jenkins & Paul O. Zelinsky

Schwartz & Wade Books; ages 3-8

Generations of Jewish Americans grew up reading All-of-a-Kind Family, the classic mid-century chapter book series by Sydney Taylor that followed the day-to-day doings and adventures of a Jewish-American immigrant family on New York’s Lower East Side. Now the beloved family comes to life in All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, the first fully illustrated picture book based on the series, by Emily Jenkins and Paul O. Zelinsky. The dynamic writer-illustrator team will charm young readers with this delightful story that reflects the warmth and spirited character of the original and creates a new chapter for this generation.

The back pages include notes from Jenkins and Zelinsky that fill in details about Taylor and the creation of this new book.



Dreidel Day

Amalia Hoffman

Kar-Ben; ages 1-4

Young kids will spin, bounce and tumble their way through Chanukah along with a lively kitty in this delightful board book that glows like the colors of a box of holiday candles. Little ones can count out loud with each double-page spread that features one word and one number and discover the corresponding number of colorful dreidels.



My Family Celebrates Hanukkah

Lisa Bullard; illustrated by Constanza Basaluzzo

Lerner Publications; ages 4-8

This easy-to-follow illustrated story is perfect for families and classrooms. Kids learn about the Chanukah tale and the miracle of how a small amount of oil lasted eight days. Families celebrate, light candles, play dreidel, and receive chocolate and coins as gifts. The book’s end pages explain the holiday and pose reading-based questions helpful for educators.



Light the Menorah! A Hanukkah Handbook

Jacqueline Jules; illustrated by Kristina Swarner

Kar-Ben; ages 4-10

In this contemporary guide, families discover unique ways to celebrate Chanukah that give deeper meaning to the lighting the menorah, as well as easy to understand explanations of the holiday. Jules offers a short verse for each of the eight nights that can be read after lighting the menorah. They reflect the holiday’s themes of religious freedom, courage and miracles. Songs, rules for playing dreidel and instructions for simple crafts such as a homemade coupon gift book make this book a welcome resource.



Hannah’s Hanukkah Hiccups

Shanna Silva; illustrated by Bob McMahon

Apples & Honey Press; ages 4-8

Hannah Hope Hartman, a spunky young girl who lives in a brownstone on Hester Street, is practicing for her religious school’s Chanukah program when she suddenly gets a case of the hiccups – and they just won’t go away! Her brother Henry tries to cure her by making funny faces. The building’s diverse neighbors offer their own customs: drinking pickle juice backwards, a Mexican red string cure and cardamom cookies. A laugh-out-loud yarn that shines with the light of Chanukah.



How It’s Made: Hanukkah Menorah

Allison Ofanansky; Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern

Apples & Honey Press; ages 7-12

This engaging book shines a light on all things menorah. The 32 pages of Ofanansky’s text, brought to life by Alpern’s vibrant photographs, explain the holiday and explore the many types of menorahs — from antiques to creative whimsical versions. Kids go behind the scenes with menorah-making artists. Gifts, songs and blessings in Hebrew, English and transliterated from Hebrew are also included along with instructions for making candles, olive oil and latkes.



The Story of Hanukkah

David A. Adler, illustrated by Jill Weber

Holiday House; Board book, ages 2-4

In this vibrantly illustrated board book, the award-winning David Adler retells the story of Chanukah in simple, straightforward prose for young readers, paired with richly colored bold illustrations by Weber, the team that wrote the original (2011) version for older kids. The end depicts a modern family celebrating Chanukah



Light the Menorah: A Playful Action Rhyme

Tova Gitty Broide; illustrated by Patti Argoff

Hachai Publishing; ages 1-4

This lively rhyming book features two young brothers and a sister from a haredi Orthodox family joyfully celebrating Chanukah, with latkes hopping in the frying pan and the sister spinning like a dreidel.



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