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Ariel & Bean's Chanukah Favorites
Are you guys ready for the holidays? If you aren’t - like me - you better get your butt in gear, because Chanukah starts next week! We spent the last week perusing our stacks and picking out our Chanukah favorites. While we may celebrate Christmas predominantly, my brother-in-law is Jewish so we incorporate both holidays into our holiday festivities.
Now Bean and I have woefully different criteria for what makes a great book at the moment. This will be evident from our choices. Hers? Have to either have an animal in them or be sung aloud. Mine? I am a sucker for a clever story or beautiful illustrations. Below are our favorite Chanukah books this year. Let's check them out!
Bean’s Chanukah Favorites
1. Hanukkah in Alaska by Barbara Brown and illustrator Stacey Schuett
Hanukkah in Alaska is the story of a young girl celebrating the holiday in Alaska where life is a little different. Days last only five hours and the night sky is alight with dancing lights - the Aurora Borealis. But alas, even Chanukah can’t cheer her up, a rogue Moose has camped out in her backyard! One night, two nights, three nights… all eight nights! How will they get him to leave before he destroys everything? The secret is a holiday favorite! Hanukkah in Alaska is a sweet story that teaches the reader a little about the holiday, a little about life in Alaska and a little bit about rampaging Moose. This is a three egg book in my estimation. It's an interesting look into a way of life that I know nothing about. But it doesn't talk much about Chanukah itself. Plus Bean only loved this story because of the Moose.
2. Latke, The Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer and illustrator Tiphanie Beeke
3. Simon and the Bear by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrator Mathew Trueman
Simon and the Bear tells the tale of a young boy immigrating to America. As he leaves his mother gives him a small menorah and enough candles to celebrate Chanukah wherever he finds himself. And he finds himself in the most unlikely of places! Afloat on an iceberg, the lone survivor of a shipwreck with only a polar bear for company. With his future unknown, Simon doesn’t lose hope. Every night he lights the candles showing us that even when all seems lost, we can be hopeful.
Ariel’s Chanukah Favorites
1. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is the story of how Hershel saves Chanukah from the goblins bound and determined to snuff out every candle, crush every dreidel and pitch all the latkes into the dirt. With just his wits and the supplies in his sack Hershel outwits not one, not two but eight goblins, including the king of goblins himself! Every night as they light the menorah the goblins approach him, and every night he comes away the victor until the hold the goblins have over the tiny town is broken. The villagers are once again able to celebrate Chanukah! While Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins did not hold Bean’s attention, I had to include it. This is a five egg book if ever I saw one. While it is too long for now, this Caldecott Winner has withstood the test of time. When she gets a bit older I anticipate this classic will become a favorite. It was for me!
2. Letter on the Wind by Sarah Marwil Lamstein and illustrated by Neil Walman
Whether you are celebrating Chanukah or simply want to teach your child about other holiday traditions, these books are a good start. I won’t be offended if you wait a few years to try my suggestions. My Chanukah loves are definitely geared toward older children with longer attention spans. But Bean’s favorites, with their fun cuddly characters, are perfect for the younger crowd.
What are you Chanukah favorites? Let us know in the comments below!
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Ariel and Brianna are friends who met while working in a library. Now they collaborate to develop life-enhancing book club experiences.
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