Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama Book Poster Image
Two-tradition family doubles the holiday fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Lots of information about Christmas and Hanukkah traditions, including the story behind each holiday and the foods and songs used to celebrate them.

Positive Messages

The books' message is that it's fun to be "a mix of two traditions" and respect and celebrate both. As the girl narrator notes, "these traditional tales ... link us together today."

Positive Role Models & Representations

The little girl narrator is proud of her heritage, and her parents are models of respecting others' beliefs and traditions.

Violence & Scariness

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Christmas Daddy & Hanukkah Mama is a joyful look at a family that celebrates both holidays in food, song, storytelling, and decorations. Narrated by the daughter of this two-tradition family, the story presents diversity as fun and natural and makes respecting others' beliefs and culture look both easy and delightful.

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What's the story?

A little girl proudly proclaims, \"I am a mix of two traditions from Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama,\" then takes readers on a tour of her home during the holidays. They decorate a Christmas tree with a shiny star, light eight candles on a menorah, and leave latkes for Santa. From singing \"Silent Night\" and \"Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel\" to kissing under the mistletoe and hearing the stories of the Maccabees and the oil lamp as well as the baby in the manger, this family doubles the fun and the meaning of the holiday season. On page after page, the little girl, her parents, and her extended family make the season bright, from Hanukkah to New Year's Day. And there's even a recipe for Cranberry Kugel Dressing!

Is it any good?

DADDY CHRISTMAS & HANUKKAH MAMA is a joyful celebration of two religious and cultural traditions under the same roof. Author-illustrator Selina Alko's spirited mixed-media illustrations are full of family coziness and comprehensive seasonal detail. It's a respectful look at the two traditions, with a multiracial cast of neighbors and relatives that subtly underscores the book's message about diversity and accepting others.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about their own holiday traditions. Which ones do you look forward to each year?

  • How is Christmas Daddy & Hanukkah Mama different from other holiday books and movies you've seen?

  • How do you like the way author-illustrator Selina Alko uses collage elements in her illustrations? Can you spot the bits of patterned paper used for the kids' clothes and scarves and the printed paper that makes up part of the Christmas tree?

Book details

  • Author: Selina Alko
  • Illustrator: Selina Alko
  • Genre: Holiday
  • Topics: Holidays
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Knopf
  • Publication date: September 11, 2012
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 4 - 8
  • Number of pages: 32
  • Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
  • Last updated: July 13, 2017

Our editors recommend

For kids who love holidays

Themes & Topics

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