10 Children’s Books for Hanukkah

Hanukkah is only about two weeks away! What better time to add to your child or grandchild’s library and pass along the story and traditions of the holiday? I’ve assembled a list of 10 suggestions to do just that, including one for interfaith families. Enjoy!

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1. The Clever Dreidel’s Chanukah Wishes by Sarah Mazor

From the Back Cover:

A BRIGHTER WORLD for ALL CHILDREN “The Clever Dreidel’s Chanukah Wishes” is a beautiful, sentimental, and hopeful book that will resonate with all tender and loving hearts who wish and pray for a better world.The clever dreidel knows all about the lighting of the Chanukah menorah in celebration of the miracle that happened to the Jewish people in the Land of Israel over 2000 years ago. So, it encourages kids to enjoy the holiday and its treats, but at the same time wish for a world where all children are happy and healthy and full of hope.

This one is part of a six book series about Jewish holidays.

2. The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler

From the Back Cover:

It’s also the celebration of an ancient miracle, and retelling and remembering the story of that miracle is an essential part of the holiday, for young and old. The story of the courageous Maccabees is retold in simple yet dramatic text, accompanied by vibrant paintings of the battle, the Temple of Jersualem, and the oil which miraculously burned for eight long nights.

A traditional recipe for latkes is included, as are directions for the dreidel game, for readers who want to continue the festivities at home.

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3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 8 Nights of Hanukkah by Eric Carle

From the Back Cover:

Celebrate Chanukah with The Very Hungry Caterpillar!

Light the menorah, spin the dreidel, sing songs, and so much more in this sweet board book! This festive counting story makes for a fine holiday gift for fans of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, all while introducing young readers to the wonderful traditions of Chanukah.

4. Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel

From the Back Cover:

Bubba Brayna’s legendary latkes lure an unexpected visitor into her home in this playful Hanukkah tale from a master storyteller.

Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, and on the first night of Hanukkah, the scent of her cooking wakes a hungry, adorable bear from his hibernation.  He lumbers into town to investigate, and Bubba Brayna—who does not see or hear very well—mistakes him for her rabbi. She welcomes the bear inside to play the dreidel game, light the menorah, and enjoy a scrumptious meal.

However, after her well-fed guest leaves, there’s a knock at the door—it’s the rabbi, and all of Brayna’s other friends, arriving for dinner.  But there are no latkes left—and together, they finally figure out who really ate them.

Lively illustrations by Mike Wohnoutka, portraying the sprightly Bubba Brayna and her very hungry guest, accompany this instant family favorite, a humorous reworking of Eric A. Kimmel’s earlier classic tale, The Chanukkah Guest. A traditional recipe for latkes is included in the back matter, along with interesting, digestible facts about the history and traditions of Hanukkah.

A 2013 National Jewish Book Award Winner, this book is perfect for a holiday story time with children— either in the classroom or at home, as an introduction for young readers to the traditions and customs of Hanukkah, and as a classic to return to year after year.

5. The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing

From the Back Cover:

The newest title in the bestselling Night Before series is the perfect gift for every girl and boy who celebrates Hanukkah!

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!

6. Daddy Christmas, Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko

From the Back Cover:

A perfect gift for the holiday season, no matter what you celebrate in December!

I am a mix of two traditions.
From Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama.
How lucky am I?

Holiday time at Sadie’s house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa’s arrival.

Selina Alko’s joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

7. Latke the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer

From the Back Cover:

Rescued from an animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah, Latke has trouble learning the house rules. Despite a series of mishaps, he is one Lucky Dog!

8. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel

From the Back Cover:

A classic Hanukkah tale, now available in a beautiful anniversary edition.  A Caldecott Honor book.

On the first night of Hanukkah, a weary traveler named Hershel of Ostropol eagerly approaches a village, where plenty of latkes and merriment should warm him.

But when he arrives not a single candle is lit. A band of frightful goblins has taken over the synagogue, and the villagers cannot celebrate at all! Hershel vows to help them. Using his wits, the clever trickster faces down one goblin after the next, night after night.  But can one man alone save Hanukkah and live to tell the tale?

An original adventure featuring a traditional Jewish folk hero, this clever story has been a family favorite for decades and was named a Caldecott Honor book when it was originally published, and received a Sydney Taylor Award Honor.  Trina Schart Hyman’s leering goblins are equal parts terrifying and ridiculous as they match wits with Hershel, trying to keep him from lighting the menorah and celebrating Hanukkah.  

This beautiful 25th Anniversary Edition includes an insightful afterword from the author and publisher explaining the book’s origins, and remembering Trina Schart Hyman, the illustrator who brought the tale to life.  This classic picture book is a perfect Hanukkah gift and a wonderful read-aloud.

For more tales of this clever folk hero, read The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol— another collaboration between master storyteller Eric A. Kimmel and Trina Schart Hyman.

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9. Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster

From the Back Cover:

It was a chilly winter in the northern woods, but Ruthie did not mind. Dressed in her favorite puffy red coat, she was going to spend Hanukkah with her grandmother, who lived on the other side of the forest. Ruthie was bringing sour cream and applesauce to go along with the yummy latkes. She carefully packed her basket and kissed her mother good-bye. Snow began to fall. Soon Ruthie was lost in a thicket, and she was not alone. Someone was hiding behind the tree, and when he jumped out, Ruthie found herself face to face with a wolf. Ruthie will have to convince the wolf that eating latkes will be tastier than eating her!

10. Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg

From the Back Cover:

Imagine James Marshall’s The Stupids celebrating Hanukkah, and you’d get the Latke family!

Lucy Latke’s family is just like yours or mine. Except that they’re potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After lighting the menorah and gobbling the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It’s up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight. (To start with, they were Maccabees, not Mega Bees…) But he’ll have to get the rest of the Latkes to listen to him first!

What Are Your Favorites?

What other Hanukkah books does your family enjoy at this time of year? Drop your recommendations in the comments.

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