By Colleen McTiernan
What better way to get into the spirit of the holiday than by reading Hanukkah-themed books with your children? With these eight books, you can read and celebrate together each night of the festival of lights!
“Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Tina Schart Hyman
This Caldecott Honor Book tells the story of how Hershel of Ostropol, a trickster of Jewish folklore, helps rid a village of goblins that have prevented them from celebrating Hanukkah.
“How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?” by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Mark Teague
From the “How Do Dinosaurs…?” series comes this fun read about what the dinosaurs should and should not do while celebrating the festival of lights with their parents.
“The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story” by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Lisa Brown
Perfect for lovers of Snicket’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” this book tells the story of a latke who runs away before being cooked (much like a certain gingerbread man) and runs into several Christmas symbols. Throughout the story the latke has to explain to the confused Christmas-related objects that he is not a part of their holiday, but Hanukkah instead!
“Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale” by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Matthew Trueman
This imaginative Hanukkah story tells the tale of Simon, a boy whose ship sinks on his way to a new life in America. Despite being stranded on an ice floe, Simon celebrates Hanukkah and experiences true miracles.
“Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah” by Tilda Balsley, illustrated by David Harrington
This illustrated rhyming book tells the Hanukkah story of Judah and the Maccabees and imparts to children the lesson that it only takes a few to stand up for what is right.
“Where is Baby’s Dreidel?” by Karen Katz
This lift-the-flap book is a fun and interactive way to start introducing Hanukkah traditions to the littlest ones in your family.
“Hanukkah Bear” by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
In this National Jewish Book Awards winner, an elderly woman mistakes a hungry bear for her rabbi and ends up feeding him latkes and playing dreidel with him.
“The Trees of the Dancing Goats” by Patricia Polacco
Based on childhood memory of author Patricia Polacco, after Trisha and her family are spared from a scarlet fever epidemic, they decide to spend their eight days of Hanukkah helping their sick neighbors celebrate Christmas, despite not celebrating themselves. The book delivers a message of friendship and holiday spirit, no matter what holiday you celebrate.