Hanukkah

Book review by
Patricia Tauzer, Common Sense Media
Hanukkah Book Poster Image
Award winner is perfect for holiday gift-giving.

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Three generations of a family gather to celebrate Hanukkah, sharing and passing on traditions as each does his or her part to add to the joy of the festivities.

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this simple telling of one family's Hanukkah celebration captures the essence of tradition, and was awarded the prestigious National Jewish Book Award in 1991.

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What's the story?

Once evening comes, the Hanukkah candles are lit, and eight family members begin their celebration of the eighth night of Hanukkah. Older kids fry potato pancakes while Grandma cooks her roast, bakes cakes, and manages the kitchen. Younger kids shape dreidels of clay and decorate a room that glows with warmth and excitement. After all is eaten, the family sinks into one long comfortable sofa together until they are ready to play games, dance, sing, and open gifts before heading off to a peaceful slumber. A page inside the back cover explains the importance of Hanukkah as the Festival of Light and Dedication.

Is it any good?

Simple text that is poetic, sometimes rhyming, yet also straightforward and clear explains the specific things a family does to celebrate Hanukkah. And watercolor illustrations that are beautifully expressive and somewhat nostalgic create an excitement that is gently joyful as it builds throughout the evening.

Together, the artistry of word and painting carry the story well beyond an explanation of what celebrating Hanukkah is really all about. This is a book about treasured traditions, and the joy of a family that shares not just the celebration but all of the preparation for making it truly festive and fun.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about traditions in general, and specifically about how this family celebrates the eighth day of Hanukkah. What part does each person in this three-generational family, from Grandma to the baby, have in creating the joy of their celebration? Who is doing what, and how do they know what to do? What part would you take if you were part of this family? Do you share any special holiday traditions in your family? What special foods do people cook? What kinds of games or activities do you do together?

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