One of our go-to ways to teach our children about other cultures and faith communities is children’s books. Filled with positive and uplifting messages and the ability to visually captivate, children’s books provide the perfect opportunity for children to learn about and appreciate people and traditions that are different than their own. And more importantly to help them understand that we are all much more alike than we are different.
And so today in a continued effort to engage in opportunities to talk with and teach our children about Hanukkah we wanted to share a few children’s books. We encourage you to visit your local library to check out one or two of these books. Because we know getting to the library is sometimes difficult, we've included links to a few 'read aloud' versions of the books below.
We sincerely hope you will take the opportunity to engage with your children in learning about Hanukkah and discussing the beautiful lessons of the holiday; that we must always work to find light in the darkness, that miracles are real, and that we must always work to keep the light of religious freedom burning for all people, and stand up for what we believe in.
1. Simon and the Bear, a Hanukkah Tale, by Eric A Kimmel tells the story of a young boy and his voyage from the old country across the sea to America and the unexpected miracles he receives along the way.
2. The Trees of the Dancing Goats, by Patricia Polacco tells a beautiful story about a family looking for opportunities to spread light during Hanukkah to their neighbors who are too sick to celebrate Christmas.
Read aloud, can be found here.
3. Oskar and the Eight Blessings, by Richard and Tanya Simon, tells the story of a young boy forced to leave his family during WWII and the blessings he experiences on his journey to his aunt’s home on the seventh night of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve.
4. Hanukkah Bear, by Eric A. Kimmel is a charming little tale about a bear who follows his nose to the first night of Hanukkah celebrations on the edge of the village. Read aloud can be found here.
5. Chanukah Lights Everywhere, by Michael J. Rosen shares the holiday through the eyes of a child as they see lights everywhere replicating the lights of the candles on the menorah each night.
6. The Story of Hanukkah, by David A. Adler tells the story of how Hanukkah began, presenting the history of the holiday in a very kid-friendly way. It also shares a little about how Hanukkah is celebrated around the world today.
7. Bubbie and Zadie Come To My House: A Story for Hanukkah, by Daniel Halevi Bloom, tells the story of Hanukkah along with a magical tale about two visitors, Bubbie and Zadie who visit children around the world on the first night of Hanukkah.
Note: Bubbie is Yiddish for grandmother and Zadie is Yiddish for grandfather.
8. The Night Before Hanukkah, by Natasha Wing shares the story of one family as they prepare for and celebrate the eight days of Hanukkah. The Night Before Hanukkah is a delightful twist on the Christmas classic, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, as it highlights the holiday traditions of Hanukkah.
9. Latkes, Latkes Good to Eat, A Chanukah Story, by Naomi Howland is a charming tale about a Chanukah miracle that a poor family experienced while serving others even when they didn't feel they had much to offer.