‘Hadassah Magazine’s’ Hanukkah Book List
What would the holiday of light be without picture books replete with humor, puns and even dragons?
The Eight Knights of Hanukkah By Leslie Kimmelman. Illustrated by Galia Bernstein (Holiday House, 48 pp., ages 3-8)
A dragon named Dreadful threatens preparations for the lighting of the menorah on the final night of Hanukkah. Lady Sadie summons her bold knights to defeat him with acts of courage and kindness. Off they ride to fashion a new dreidel for a weeping lad whose previous one was scorched by the dragon; peel potatoes for a latke-cooking damsel in distress; and bring chicken soup to the sick. Sir Isabella (yes, there are several lady knights) and Sir Rugelach invite the dragon, who isn’t so dreadful after all, to light the candles.
There Was a Young Rabbi: A Hanukkah Tale By Suzanne Wolfe. Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler (Kar-Ben, 24 pp., ages 3-8)
There was a young female rabbi who…did it all: “Read from the Torah” and “lit the menorah”; made a brisket, latkes, applesauce and won at dreidel, too. Readers will applaud the rabbi’s energetic efforts, each page a cumulative recitation of her holiday prep based on the familiar nursery rhyme “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly,” as her family (including a child in a wheelchair) looks on.
Lilah Tov, Good Night By Ben Gundersheimer. Illustrated by Noar Lee Naggan (Nancy Paulsen Books, 32 pp.)
Deceptively simple and strikingly poignant, Lilah Tov echoes the cadence of the children’s classic Goodnight Moon through lush illustrations and lilting verse. The book follows a family of Jewish refugees as they journey from their shtetl home to freedom. Along the way, as beautiful soft-edged images depict their long journey, they recite the Hebrew for good night “to the clouds in the sky, Lilah Tov to the stars way up high.” While not specifically Hanukkah related, a menorah is packed with the family possessions and the final page shows the young daughter sleeping safely in her new home, that menorah on her windowsill.
Happy Llamakkah! By Laura Gehl. Illustrated by Lydia Nichols (Abrams Appleseed, 24 pp., ages 3-5)
After starring on many Hanukkah “ugly sweaters” and in Hanukkah memes, llamas finally get their due in this sweet tale of a happy family of long-lashed llamas celebrating with “candles to light, more every night.”
Kayla and Kugel’s Happy Hanukkah Written and Illustrated by Ann D. Koffsky (Apples & Honey, 24 pp., ages 3-8)
Kayla and her dog, Kugel, discover treasures of the past as they search for the family’s menorah. Traditions and customs spring into life adding to the holiday joy. Kayla’s laughter trills right off the page as the menorah is polished, candles are lit and latkes devoured while furry Kugel “spins like a dreidel.”
Gloria Goldreich’s newest book is The Paris Children.