Everybody loves Chanukah; it’s a truly joyous holiday, with some of our most fun traditions and rituals. Lighing the chanukiah, eating latkes and sufganiot, playing dreidel–these are all things that we look forward to with anticipation. And I love the idea of including storytime in Chanukah celebrations.
This year, after you’ve lit the chanukiah and indulged in some Chanukah treats, why not start a tradition of snuggling up with your little ones and reading some of these wonderful Chanukah stories to make the miracles last just a little longer?
You may notice that there are several books included here based on popular characters from TV and other book series. While I normally shun books involving licensed characters such as these, I think that at holiday time they serve a very important purpose: helping Jewish kids to not feel excluded from the greater community, by showing them that their religion and traditions are recognized and celebrated even in familiar pop-culture venues.
|A Blues Clues Chanukah
Written by Jessica Lissy
Illustrated by Dan Kanemoto & Jennifer OxleyBlue and her friends have been invited to a Chanukah party at Orange Kitten’s house! From lighting the menorah and eating special foods to playing dreidel and singing songs, you can join in the celebration too! (Amazon)
|The Rugrats Book of Chanukah
Written by Sarah Willson
Illustrated by Barry GoldbergIt’s Chanukah, that special time of year, and Chuckie, Angelica, and Tommy are ready to see Grandpa Boris in the annual pageant. But there’s more action going on backstage, with excitement that has even grouchy Schlomo getting into the spirit of things. And soon everybody, even the youngest, is ready to light the menorah and usher in the holiday. (Amazon)
Written by Deborah Da Costa
Illustrated by Gosia MoszWhen Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa’s for Hanukkah, she’s not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. “At Aunt Luisa’s you’ll get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon,” Isobel’s father promises. An unusual Hanukkah story with a multi-cultural focus, this title celebrates a little-known custom of the Latin-Jewish community. (Kar-Ben)
|How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?
Written by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mark TeagueFrom 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. (Scholastic)
|Engineer Ari and the Hanukkah Mishap
Written by Deborah Bodin Cohen
Illustrated by Shahar KoberHurrying home to celebrate Hanukkah, Engineer Ari screeches his train to a halt to avoid hitting a stubborn camel sitting on the tracks. The camel’s Bedouin owner invites Ari to his tent to await help, where the two have an impromptu Hanukkah celebration, and become friends. (Kar-Ben)
|Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah
Written by Tilda Balsley
Illustrated by David HarringtonJudah and the little army of Maccabees fight to free Jerusalem from the cruel King Antiochus in this vibrant and action-filled rhyming version of the famous Hanukkah story. (Kar-Ben)
|The Littlest Maccabee
Written by Sylvia Rouss
Illustrated by Greg A. CohenA sweet new take on the traditional Chanukah story from an unusual perspective. The Littlest Maccabee shows us how sometimes you can win a battle by just showing up!
|Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah
Written by Sylvia Rouss
Illustrated by Latifa Berry KropfSammy Spider watches longingly as Josh Shapiro lights another candle and receives another brightly-colored dreidel each night of Hanukkah. (Kar Ben) Where To Buy