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PICKS OF THE WEEK: Learning about Hanukkah

This weeks library picks of the week are a great way to learn something new about Hanukkah
2021-11-26 BWG Library Picks of the week (1) (1)

This year, according to the Jewish calendar, is year 5782. As the Jewish calendar does not fit exactly with the Gregorian calendar (our Western calendar), the holiday celebrating the festival of lights is starting a little earlier – on Sunday, Nov. 28. Hanukkah celebrates the miracle of light. As the rebelling Maccabees of 2nd century BCE seized their Jewish temple back from the Greeks, they only had oil enough for one day to light the menorah – a sacred nine-branched candelabrum consisting of eight candles and the Shammash (the main candle). The limited amount of oil, however, yielded eight days worth, and so it was declared a miracle. Celebrations abound with oily treats and games like twisting the dreidel (a spinning top). Nevertheless, there is so much more to explore about the magic of Hanukkah, and everyone is welcome to learn from this week’s picks.

Enjoy the Hanukkah children’s books and an exciting adult fiction read about the holiday, too!

1) Hannukah: Festivals around the world by Grace Jones.

In this book, kids can learn about Hanukkah: one of the diverse and vibrant festivals that are celebrated around the world. This series encourages children to consider religious beliefs and cultural practices via easy-to-read text and informative, colourful images.

2) The Eighth Menorah by Lauren L. Wohl and Laura Hughes

In this fun children’s book, Sam is reluctant to make a menorah in Sunday School because his family already owns seven, but after a conversation with his grandmother, he figures out how to make a perfect Hanukkah gift.

3) Happy Llamakah! by Laura Gehl and Lydia Nichols

Follow along with the Llama family's Hanukkah traditions as they light their menorah, spin the dreidel, fry latkes, and more. Laura Gehl's lightly poetic text and Lydia Nichols's vibrant illustrations make for a festive read. The book also features expanded information on the holiday's history and traditions.

4) Eight Winter Nights by Laura Krauss Melmed and Elisabeth Schlossberg.

Moishe's Miracle author Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrator Elisabeth Schlossberg celebrate Hanukkah in joyful action rhymes, festive poems, and exuberant scenes of family life. From traditional holiday foods to the story of the Maccabees, they capture the warm sights, sounds, and tastes of this wintertime festival.

5) The Matzah Ball by Jean Meltzer

This is a fun, Hanukkah-themed adult fiction novel where the protagonist, Rachel Rubenstein-Goldblatt, is Jewish, but she's keeping a secret from her whole family: She's obsessed with Christmas, and she has been writing Christmas romance novels under a pen name, creating worlds where happy endings are possible. But when her publisher says it's time for a change—and they want a Hanukkah romance instead—Rachel panics, then finds herself leaning on the last person she ever expected to ask for help.