Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival that commemorates the rededication of the second temple in Jerusalem during the second century B.C. It is celebrated by the lighting of the menorah each evening. One candle is lit the first day, and an additional candle is lit each subsequent day until all 8 candles are lit on the 8th evening. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or are just interested in learning more about it, one of the best ways to introduce our children to the holiday and to learn more about it, is through a book!
The Miracle of Hanukkah by Seymour Chwast
In the year 165 B.C.E., Mattathias and the Maccabees defeated the Syrians and reclaimed their Great Temple in Jerusalem. Though they planned an eight-day celebration to rededicate the Temple, they had lamp oil for only one day. Miraculously, the oil burned for eight days. Every year Jews around the world celebrate this miracle at Hanukkah.
Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg
Lucy Latke’s family is just like yours or mine. Except that they’re potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After lighting the menorah and gobbling the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It’s up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight. This is humorous and engaging for all ages. Watch a video story time here.
Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko
Holiday time at Sadie’s house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa’s arrival. This book is a joyous celebration of blended families who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Watch a video story time here.
Hanukkah Lights by David Martin
Simple language and sweet illustrations make this board book a perfect fit for the youngest in our homes. It shows the menorah, the latkes and gifts with a focus on family togetherness. Watch a video story time here.
The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S. Perl
It’s Hanukkah, and Max and Rachel are excited to light the menorah in their family’s new apartment. But, unfortunately, their Hanukkah box is missing. So now they have no menorah, candles, dreidels, or, well, anything! Luckily, their neighbors are happy to help, offering thoughtful and often humorous stand-in items each night. And then, just as Hanukkah is about to end, Max and Rachel, inspired by the shamash (“helper”) candle, have a brilliant idea: they’re going to celebrate the Ninth Night of Hanukkah as a way to say thanks to everyone who’s helped them! Watch a video story time here.