As A Cookie Before Dinner grows, I am adding members to my team. I am so thrilled to welcome Nancy’s voice to this piece about the Best Chanukah Books For Children. Enjoy! – NJ
Best Chanukah Books For Children: Toddler Books
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My First Chanukah by Tomie dePaola In My First Chanukah, Tomie dePaola?s gentle text and understated artwork provide insight and background into the holiday for young readers. Eye-catching foil lights up the cover.
Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah by Sylvia A. Rouss Sammy Spider watches longingly as Josh Shapiro lights another candle and receives another brightly colored dreidel each night of Hanukkah. Sammy’s mother reminds him, “Spiders don’t spin dreidels, spiders spin webs!” Then, on the last night, Sammy gets his own spinning surprise.
Biscuit’s Hanukkah by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Come along with Biscuit as he makes a beautiful menorah to celebrate Hanukkah. It’s a great time for stories, songs, food and friends!
Chanukah Lights by David Martin Candles on the menorah, ready to light! At Hanukkah, there are many much-anticipated rituals — latkes to eat, dreidels to spin, presents to give and receive, and shiny gold treats. Add some free-form fun, from shadow puppetry to singing and dancing, and you have a warm, truly child-friendly
Elmo’s Little Dreidel by Naomi Kleinberg What’s a dreidel? Elmo wants to know! He finds out as he celebrates the first night of Hanukkah with a friend’s family. He watches Gil, Susie, and their parents light the menorah and joins in as they sing Hanukkah songs. After supper he learns to play dreidel, the traditional Hanukkah spin-the-top game. And, at the end of the evening, Elmo gets his first Hanukkah gift—his very own little dreidel! This sturdy board book introduces toddlers to the traditions of the Jewish Festival of Lights and even teaches them how to play dreidel themselves!
Glitter Hanukkah Stickers by Dover These 14 glittery stickers reflect the time-honored traditions of The Festival of Lights, including a decorative menorah, spinning tops called dreidels, coins known as Hanukkah gelt, potato pancakes called latkes, gifts for the 8-day observance, and more. Kids can use the stickers to make their own cards and invitations!
Latke, The Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer Rescued from an animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah, Latke the puppy joins the family just in time for the celebrations. Although he has trouble learning the house rules, he is one Lucky Dog!
Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah by Norman Bridwell Celebrate Hanukkah with Clifford and Emily Elizabeth!
Clifford and Emily Elizabeth are celebrating their first Hanukkah. They love hearing the story of Hanukkah, eating “latkes” (fried potato pancakes) and “sufganiyot” (fried jelly donuts), and playing dreidel. After dinner, Clifford and Emily Elizabeth take a trip into town to see the giant menorah. But when they get there, they discover that one light is broken. It’s too late in the evening to call a handyman, but maybe Clifford is big enough to help save Hanukkah!
Happy Hanukkah, Curious George by H.A. Rey It is the eighth night of Hanukkah, and George and his friends have gathered for a celebration. They light the menorah, spin the dreidel, make latkes, and learn the importance of mitzvah! In this tabbed board book, youngsters will even find a tasty latke recipe and instructions for constructing a dreidel, with rules for play. A festive foil-stamped cover makes this a fine holiday gift for fans of Curious George. For more monkey fun, investigate www.curiousgeorge.com.
Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy by Don Freeman Celebrate the festival of lights with Corduroy. Corduroy’s having a Hanukkah party for all of his friends. First they light the menorah, then they eat yummy potato pancakes. After they open presents, there’s time for a game of dreidel. Introduce little boys and girls to all of the Hanukkah traditions with Corduroy, one of the most beloved children’s books characters for over forty years.
Where is Baby’s Dreidel by Karen Katz It’s Chanukah, and Baby wants to spin the dreidel–but where is it? Children can lift the flaps to find Chanukah symbols while they join Baby in this fun-filled, hide-and-seek adventure. A wonderful Chanukah treat for babies!
Bright Baby Touch and Feel Hanukkah by Roger Priddy This is an ideal first board book to share with your baby or toddler as a first step to discovering Hanukkah traditions. The pages feature familiar Hanukkah images, such as lighting candles, eating latkes and playing dreidel, and there are lots of different touch-and-feel textures, which little fingers will love to explore.
Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel Almost blind and deaf, a woman known for her delicious latkes mistakes a visiting bear for her rabbi. A retelling of The Chanukkah Guest (Holiday House, 1990, o.p.) with new illustrations.
The Count’s Hanukkah Countdown by Tilda Balsley At a gala Hanukkah party on Sesame Street, Grover and the Count welcome visiting Israeli Muppet friends Brosh and Avigail, tell the story of Hanukkah, feast on latkes, and learn that EIGHT is the perfect Hanukkah number.
Honeyky Hanukkah by Woody Guthrie A Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2015 “Latkes and goody things all over town, it’s Honeyky Hanukah time!” In Woody Guthrie’s rowdy, funny celebration of Hanukah, a young boy and his dog move merrily from house to house, gathering up family and friends for a big feast. With an accompanying CD, featuring Guthrie’s song recorded by the Klezmatics, this is a Hanukah book you can dance to!
Best Chanukah Books For Children: Picture Books
Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein by Amanda Peet Rachel Rosenstein is determined to celebrate Christmas this year—and the fact that her family is Jewish is not going to stop her. In a series of hilarious and heartwarming mishaps, Rachel writes a letter to Santa explaining her cause, pays him a visit at the mall, and covertly decorates her house on Christmas Eve (right down to latkes for Santa and his reindeer). And while Rachel may wrestle with her culture, customs, and love of sparkly Christmas ornaments, she also comes away with a brighter understanding of her own identity and of the gift of friends and family.
Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Tanya Simon A refugee seeking sanctuary from the horrors of Kristallnacht, Oskar arrives by ship in New York City with only a photograph and an address for an aunt he has never met. It is both the seventh day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve, 1938. As Oskar walks the length of Manhattan, from the Battery to his new home in the north of the city, he passes experiences the city’s many holiday sights, and encounters it various residents. Each offers Oskar a small act of kindness, welcoming him to the city and helping him on his way to a new life in the new world. This is a heartwarming, timeless picture book.
Simon and The Bear by Eric A. Kimmel Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon’s mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights the first candle, and it attracts a visitor: a polar bear. Does she eat him? No! She shares his latkes, enjoys his songs, goes fishing for him, and even keeps him warm at night. By the last day of Hanukkah, Simon has nearly given up hope of ever being rescued. But then he recounts all of the miracles that have befallen him so far. Perhaps it is not too much to hope for one more, he thinks, as he lights all of the candles in the menorah. The bright glow signals a passing ship, and Simon makes it to New York after all. This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you’ve ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.
The Dreidel That Wouldn’t Spin by Martha Seif Simpson “This dreidel doesn’t work!” the father had cried. “What do you mean? How can a dreidel not work?” the shopkeeper asked. It was certainly the most beautiful spinning top the shopkeeper had ever seen, with magical golden letters on its sides. But it just would not spin for two spoiled children who insisted on owning it! Later, the shopkeeper decides to try it one last time: would it spin for another child, one who carried the true spirit of Hanukkah in his heart? In this beautiful holiday story by award-winning author Martha Simpson, and brought to life by the imaginative illustrations of award-winning illustrator D. Yael Bernhard, the happiness and joy of the Hanukkah miracle will warm the heart of young and old alike with its simple message: wonders still occur for those who are ready for them. Included is a useful appendix that explains Hanukkah, and an explanation on how to play the dreidel game.
Light The Lights by Margaret Moorman Every December, Emma and her family celebrate two special holidays. First comes Hanukkah, with dreidel games and lighting the menorah. Then comes Christmas, with carols, bright lights on the tree, and presents for everyone!
Chanukah Lights Everywhere by Michael J. Rosen One crescent moon glows in the sky. Two headlights shine through the window. . . . On each magical night of Chanukah, a young boy and his sister count more lights shining all around them! Join them as they discover what it means to celebrate Chanukah in a world filled with so many other lights.
Latkes, Latkes, Good To Eat by Naomi Howland Sadie and her four little brothers are very poor and always hungry. On the first night of Chanukah, Sadie performs a generous act, and in turn receives a frying pan that cooks up sizzling hot, golden latkes on command. Sadie tells her brothers never to use the magic pan, but when she goes out one afternoon, the mischievous boys can’t resist. They remember the words to start the pan cooking . . . but what were the words to make it stop? This humorous tale of generosity and greed is accompanied by bright, cheerful illustrations depicting a traditional Russian village. An author’s note and a recipe for Sadie’s latkes are included.
The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes by Linda Glaser It’s the last night of Hanukkah, and more relatives are coming than originally planned. Rachel decides to borrow potatoes from Mrs. Greenberg. She asks Mrs. Greenberg, who is all alone, to come for Hanukkah. But Mrs. Greenberg is very stubborn!
The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler No celebration of Hanukkah would be complete without recountng the events of more than two thousand years ago that the holiday commemorates. In a simple yet dramatic text and vibrant paintings, the story of the courageous Maccabees and the miracle that took place in the Temple in Jerusalem is retold. For readers who want to continue the festivities, a recipe for latkes and directions for playing dreidel are included.
The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing It’s the night before the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins, and everyone is excited! Each evening, the family gathers to light the candles and share holiday traditions such as playing dreidel, eating latkes, and exchanging gifts. The seventeenth title in Natasha Wing’s bestselling series, The Night Before Hanukkah captures all the joy and love in one of the most wonderful times of the year!
Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley Judah and the little army of Maccabees fight to free Jerusalem from the cruel King Antiochus in this rhyming version of the famous Hanukkah story.
Herschel and The Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel A traveler rids a village synagogue of goblins by outwitting them. A Caldecott Honor Book.
Celebrate Hanukkah: With Light, Latkes and Dreidels by Deborah Heiligman With dazzling images and engaging text, readers learn about the historical and cultural significance of Hanukkah and why it is celebrated around the world. From the lighting of the menorah to the special foods that are shared to the spinning of the dreidels, they’ll get insights about this holiday’s traditions and the Jewish faith. This book also offers fascinating facts, a recipe, and a Common Core-aligned activities.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? by Jane Yolen From the warm glow of holiday candles in the menorah to the fun of family gatherings, little dinosaurs love to celebrate the Festival of Lights. But sometimes the excitement of Chanukah, its treasured rituals, and the tradition of gifts can tempt a youngster to misbehave. . . . Come along on a joyful romp filled with tumbling dreidels and melting gelt as America’s favorite prehistoric pals spread a little mischief this season. Children will laugh out loud as dinosaurs fidget, fuss, and stomp through every occasion, while their human parents shift from shock to weary patience. Filled with warmth and cheer, this new book by the bestselling team of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague makes a perfect gift to be read again and again, year after year. How do dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah? The same way they say Merry Christmas: With an abundance of love, joy, memory, and gratitude.
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel by Caryn Yacowitz A family drives through the snow to visit their beloved bubbe, who spreads out a Chanukah supper for everyone to enjoy. But one dish goes a little wrong.
Indeed, Bubbe’s first bite leads to an insatiable taste for oil, latkes, applesauce, gelt — even menorahs! But as the family tries to distract her from her gluttony, the items she devours grow ever larger. Will they be able to reconnect with her and bring her home for the last night of Chanukah — or will her feasting in fact be fatal? Beyond the joy of a Jewish take on this most American of folk songs, the illustrations here offer hilarious parodies of great works of art by da Vinci, Rembrandt, Vermeer, Hopper, Rockwell, Matisse, Picasso, and other masters–adding a whole new layer of humor and culture to the familiar tune. You’ll love this old lady, and want to visit her every Chanukah for years to come.
featured image credit: depositphotos/© monkeybusine – pinnable images credit: depositphotos/© yekophotostudio