Happy Chanukah!

The photograph depicts a tabletop menorah with nine lit candles in primary colors.
Eighth day of Chanukah menorah” by scazon is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Eliana H.

Most people in the United States have heard of Chanukah. Though there are about six different accepted spellings for the holiday, “Chanukah” has always been my preference and that’s what I’m going with here. You may know it is the festival of lights. Many even know the tale of the oil that was only enough for one day miraculously lasting for eight days. Growing up, I always learned that while the oil was a fun story, the true triumph of Chanukah was that a small band of resistance fighters defeated a larger, more well-equipped military force. My family celebrates by playing dreidel, cooking and eating latkes, and, of course, lighting the candles. Although we exchange gifts, I’ve never felt like that is the most important part.

While Chanukah is not among the most sacred Jewish holidays, it is a time of joyous celebration, and we certainly want to take advantage of every opportunity for that during this challenging year. If you’re looking to introduce your child to some Chanukah-themed stories, take a look at these titles from the HCLS collection. Clicking on any of the titles below will open a tab with that title listing in our catalog.

Chanukah with Your Favorite Characters: Many familiar children’s book characters have a book in which they celebrate Chanukah. Here are a few of those titles.

Biscuit’s Hanukkah, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli – BOARD BOOK C

Happy Hanukkah, Biscuit!, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli – E CAP

Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah, by Norman Bridwell – E BRI

Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy, by Lisa McCue – BOARD BOOK M

The Count’s Hanukkah Countdown, by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer – MEDIA TIE-IN

Happy Hanukkah, Curious George, by Emily Flaschner Meyer – BOARD BOOK M

Happy Hanukkah, Dear Dragon, by Margaret Hillert – ER HIL

You might know Dear Dragon from the expansive series by Margaret Hillert. In this volume, a boy and his pet dragon learn about Chanukah from a Jewish friend.

Grover’s Eight Nights of Light, by Jodie Shepherd – MEDIA TIE-IN

Fables and Folk Tales Related to Chanukah: While not telling the historical tale that is celebrated on Chanukah, these stories show characters overcoming obstacles to celebrate Chanukah.

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat, by Naomi Howland – E HOW

Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat provides a twist on the traditional magic pot story. A young girl is rewarded for a good deed with a magic pan that cooks up latkes (potato pancakes) on command, but when her younger brothers can’t remember the words to make it stop, they end up with more than they expected.

The Golem’s Latkes, by Eric A. Kimmel – E KIM

Hanukkah Bear, by Eric A. Kimmel – E KIM

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric A. Kimmel – E KIM

Simon and the Bear, by Eric A. Kimmel – E KIM

A Confused Hanukkah: An Original Story of Chelm, by Jon Koons – E KOO

Moishe’s Miracle, by Laura Krauss Melmed – E MEL – also available as an ebook through OverDrive

Celebrating Together: These stories focus on families of all kinds celebrating Chanukah together.

Hanukkah Moon, by Deborah da Costa – E DaC – also available as an ebook through OverDrive

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas, by Pamela Ehrenberg – E EHR

This volume shows readers a way that families of different backgrounds can combine their traditions into meaningful celebrations for everyone. While dealing with what may be a familiar sibling interaction to many, the main characters honor both their father’s Jewish and their mother’s East Indian heritage.

Kugel for Hanukkah?, by Gretchen M. Everin – E EVE

Jeremy’s Dreidel, by Ellie Gellman – E GEL

Hoppy Hanukkah!, by Linda Glaser – E GLA

The Hanukkah Mice, by Steven Kroll – E KRO

Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles, by Tami Lehman-Wilzig – E LEH

This Is the Dreidel, by Abby Levine – E LEV

The Night Before Hanukkah, by Natasha Wing – E WIN

The Eighth Menorah, by Lauren Wohl – E WOH

Chanukah in History: Each of these books shows how Chanukah was celebrated by someone at a particular point in the past.

One Candle, by Eve Bunting – E BUN

All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, by Emily Jenkins – E JEN

I remember reading books about the All-of-a-Kind Family growing up, so I was excited to see this picture book arrive on our shelves. A Jewish immigrant family living in the tenements of New York City in 1912 celebrates Chanukah together, with interactions that feel familiar even today.

Hanukkah at Valley Forge, by Stephen Krensky – E KRE

Oskar and the Eight Blessings, by Richard and Tanya Simon – E SIM

Chanukah Nonfiction: Check out these books for more facts about Chanukah, its history, and how it’s celebrated.

The Story of Hanukkah, by David A. Adler – Childrens 296.435A

Celebrate Hanukkah, by Deborah Heiligman – Childrens 296.435H

Hanukkah, by Lisa M. Herrington – Childrens 296.435H

Light the Menorah!: A Hanukkah Handbook, by Jacqueline Jules – Childrens 296.435J

Hanukkah Around the World, by Tami Lehman-Wilzig – Childrens 296.435L

Maccabee Meals: Food and Fun for Hanukkah, by Judyth Saypol Groner – Childrens 641.567G

Hanukkah, by Trudi Strain Trueit – ER TRU

Harvest of Light, by Allison Ofanansky – E OFA

Even though this title is in our picture book collection, it walks readers through the step of preparing olive oil to light in an old-fashioned Chanukah menorah, from beginning to end. Follow a young Israeli girl as she watches the olives grow and helps her family harvest them before finally lighting some of the oil on the first night of Chanukah.

Howard County hosts a community Chanukah candlelighting every year. This year, due to safety concerns, the event will be virtual. It will take place on December 14 at 7 pm. If you’d like to join from the comfort of your own home, register at https://www.jewishhowardcounty.org/calendar/chanukah-menorah-lighting. Happy Chanukah!

Eliana is a Children’s Instructor and Research Specialist at HCLS Elkridge Branch. She loves reading, even if she’s slow at it, and especially enjoys helping people find books that make them light up. She also loves being outside and spending time with friends and family (when it’s safe).

One thought on “Happy Chanukah!

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