This is the time of year when we start seeing a lot of blog posts about the best Christmas books to read with your kids. There are a lot of good ones out there; so many that I could probably write a Top 100 list.
But what we don’t often see are lists that suggest books for children who might not celebrate Christmas.
I asked some friends about their favorite Hanukkah books and have created the following list based on their suggestions. A huge thank you to Leslie Kendall Dye, Jill Morgenstern, and Britta Eberle for their help!
Five Delightful Hanukkah Books for Kids
Light the Lights! by Margaret Moorman
The story of a young girl who celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, Light the Lights focuses on some of the main traditions of each holiday rather than the origins. It is a great choice for interfaith families.
Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Nancy Cote
Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah tells the story of a little girl who helps her very tidy neighbor make latkes. Anyone who’s ever cooked with kids can guess what hilarity ensues!
Hanukkah! by Roni Schotter, illustrated by Marylin Hafner
A National Jewish Book Award winner, Hanukkah! is a delightful story of a family preparing for and celebrating the final night of Hanukkah. Written in a lyrical style, the book focuses on the traditions of the holiday, but includes a brief history of Hanukkah, as well as a glossary of terms.
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Hershel, a tired beggar, arrives in a village eager to celebrating Hanukkah, but the villagers are terrified of the goblins that have taken over their synagogue. In Caldecott Honor Book Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins the clever Hershel uses his wit and the few ‘tools’ (a pickle jar is one!) that the villagers offer him in order to outsmart the goblins. Young children may find this book a bit scary, but it should definitely make it onto your “Must Read” list.
The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco
Another book that wonderfully blends the traditions of Hanukkah and Christmas, The Trees of the Dancing Goats is the story of a Jewish family whose Christian neighbors have all come down with Scarlet Fever right in the middle of the holiday season. Instead of holing up in their house, the family decides to embrace the spirit of both holidays to lend a helping hand.