Archive for the ‘Jewish Holidays’ Category
Books used in this review are from my personal library, were provided as review copies by the publisher or come from my local public library. I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my website and purchase it from Amazon, I may receive a very small commission on your purchase. You will incur no additional cost, however. I appreciate your support.
. ________________________________________________________________ .
Although I am not fond of this Hanukkah + Thanksgiving = “Thansgivukkah” idea, the fact is it has infiltrated the Jewish world like a virus. T-shirts, Turkey Menorahs, special holiday recipes and crafts abound! So, while my family and I will be celebrating the holidays as separately as we can, I am succumbing to the desire to provide some additional information for those that want it. Hence this list of books compiled at the behest of Heidi Estrin, friend, Librarian extraordinaire, and President of the Association of Jewish Libraries, who has an outstanding list on Facebook.
I have not, as yet, found a “Thanksgivukkah” title – nor will we need one for another 80,000 years – so we will have to satisfy ourselves with what we have. Below, please find a list of the books I have recommended for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah over the past few years:
Adam & Eve’s First Sunset: God’s New Day. Written by Sandy Sasso Eisendberg. Illustrated by Joani Keller Rothenberg. Jewish Lights Publishing, ©2003. Ages 6-10. On their first day in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve notice that the sun is moving down in the sky. Try as they might, nothing they can do – neither praise nor shouting – will stop the sun from setting and disappearing. Even though God teaches them to create fire, they spend the night cold, afraid and restless. When the sun comes up the next morning, they realize that day and night are part of God’s creation, for which they are very thankful.
All of Me! A Book of Thanks. Written and illustrated by Molly Bang. Scholastic, Inc., ©2009. Ages 3-7. This is the perfect book to introduce young children to thanking God for the miracle of the human body and all its functions. Using charming, bright illustrations and simple text, it celebrates the head to toe, inside and outside marvel that is each and every one of us.
One is a Feast for Mouse: A Thanksgiving Tale. Written by Judy Cox. Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Holiday House, ©2008. Ages 4-8. After Thanksgiving dinner, when everyone is resting after the feast, Mouse sneaks out to find a little something. He spies a pea, a perfect dinner for a little mouse, but then he sees a cranberry, an olive, a carrot, mashed potatoes…sometimes our eyes are bigger than our stomach and can lead us into big trouble!
Splat Says Thank You! Written and illustrated by Rob Scotton. HarperCollins Publishers, ©2012. Ages 3-8. Splat the Cat’s friend, Seymour the Mouse, is very sick with spots all over his body. To make Seymour smile, Splat creates a Friendship Book filled with pictures and memories of all the times Seymour has helped Splat. It is Splat’s way of saying “Thank You” to Seymour for being “my smallest friend and my biggest.”
The Table Where Rich People Sit By Byrd Baylor. Illustrated by Peter Parnall. Aladdin Paperbacks, © 1994. Ages 4-8. A young girl wants to prove to her parents that the family is poor, until they show her that money may not be everything that makes a family rich.
Thank You, Sarah: The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving by Laurie Halse Anderson. Illustrated by Matt Faulkner. © 2002, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Ages 5-10. “Pick up your pen. Change the world.” That is what Sarah Hale did, and because she did, we celebrate Thanksgiving every year. It took this strong, dynamic woman over 38 years to get an American president to declare Thanksgiving a national holiday. This is the remarkable story of how she did it.
Town Mouse, Country Mouse By Jan Brett. Illustrated by Jan Brett. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, © 1994. Ages 4-8. The classic fable with the moral: Better poor and peaceful than rich and fearful.
Chanukah Lights by Michael Rosen. Illustrated by Robert Sabuda. © 2011, Candlewick Press. Ages 6-Adult. Winner of the 2012 Association of Jewish Libraries Sydney Taylor Book Awards (the Jewish equivalent of the Caldecott Honor), this marvel of pop-up engineering takes the reader on a 2000 year tour through Jewish history. From the Temple in Jerusalem where Hanukkah began, across deserts, over oceans, into shtetls and onto kibbutz farm land, each two page spread is an enriching and engaging exploration of how the Hanukkah lights have always been a beacon of hope for the Jewish people.
Boris and Stella and the Perfect Gift written and illustrated by Dara Goldman. © 2013 Sleeping Bear Press. Ages 5-9. Boris and Stella love each other very much. So at Christmas time, Boris wants to give Stella something beautiful for her Christmas tree. At Hanukkah, Stella wants to give Boris the most exquisite driedel for his collection. When the time comes to exchange gifts, however, they realize how little gifts matter and how much they really do love each other. A lovely interfaith rendition of O. Henry’s “Gift of the Magi.”
Harvest of Light by Alison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern. © 2008 Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 4-9. Imagine gathering the olives that will make the oil to be used to light your Hanukkah menorah. In this wonderful picture book, we once again join the Israeli family as they take us step-by-step through the process of harvesting the olives from the trees, sorting them, cleaning them and taking them to the press to be made into olive oil for their food and fuel.
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins By Eric Kimmel. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Holiday House, ©1985. Ages 5-9. If I was stranded on a desert island, this is the one book I would want to have with me. I read this book every Hanukkah, to children and adults alike, as the story of Hershel outwitting the King of the Goblins and winning back Hanukkah for a poor town is just that good.
Hanukkah Bear by Eric Kimmel. Illustrated by Wohnoutka. Holiday House, ©2013. Ages 5-9. In this shortened, re-illustrated version of Kimmel’s Chanukah Guest, we still find the near-sighted, hard-of-hearing Bubbe mistaking a bear for her rabbi and cooking up her world famous latkes, lighting the menorah and playing driedel with him. All the charm and hilarity of the story, fortunately, was left intact.
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? By Jane Yolen. Illustrated by Mark Teague. Scholastic, Inc., ©2012. Ages 3-8. The How Do Dinosaurs…series is among my favorites, as they provide parents and children with a variety of laughable situations to review proper behavior. Yolen and Teague’s newest book once again uses their rowdy dinosaurs to demonstrate the appropriate form-this time of Chanukah conduct.
My Two Holidays: A Hanukkah and Christmas Story By Danielle Novack. Illustrated by Phyllis Harris. Scholastic, Inc., ©2010. Ages 3-8. As Sam listens to his classmates, he learns that they all celebrate just one holiday – Christmas or Hanukkah—while he and his family celebrate two – Christmas AND Hanukkah. He is embarrassed to tell this to his friends, until he talks to his mother. She explains that their celebrations are “one of the things that makes their family special.”
Sadie’s Almost Marvelous Menorah by Jamie Korngold. Illustrated by Julie Fortenberry. © 2013 Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 3-8. What happens when you spend days making a Marvelous Hanukkah Menorah, but smash it when you run to show it to your mom? Well, if you are Sadie, you come up with a wonderful new tradition for your family! A beautifully illustrated, charmingly told story of turning heartbreak into delight.
Snow Day for MouseBy Judy Cox. Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. Holiday House, ©2012. Ages 3-8. Mouse is back (One is a Feast for Mouse) and excited that snow is falling. A snow day has been declared, so there is no school. Mom is baking cookies, and Mouse is picking up the crumbs when Mom gets out the broom and sweeps him out the door with Cat! Fortunately, three kind-hearted birds protect Mouse from Cat and help him enjoy the time outside. Mouse repays their kindness with some generosity of his own.
©2013 Kathy Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com. All rights reserved.
Book Review | Gershon’s Monster
by Eric A. Kimmel
Illustrated by John J. Muth © 2000, Scholastic, Inc. For the most part, we try to be on our best behavior throughout the year. We remember to say please and thank you. We speak kindly of and to others. We tell the truth. Of course, everyone makes an occasional mistake, and when we do we [...]
Book Review | Sukkot Treasure Hunt
by Allison Ofanansky
Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern © 2011, Kar-Ben Publishing. How much fun would it be to take the children on a hike and look for and pick the willow, myrtle and palm branch for your very own lulav? What would it be like to pick bay leaves for your soup pot, grapes or dates for your [...]
Book Review | Greater than Gold and Silver
by Rav Naftali Ehrmann
Adapted and Illustrated by Chedvah Rubin © 2009, Feldheim Publishers This beautiful story reveals, the true meaning, and consequences, of performing a mitvah with real intention or kavanah. Reb Itzik is a poor peddler who loves Sukkot and above all observing the mitvah of having a perfect etrog during the holiday. When one year he [...]
In one week, we will be celebrating the beginning of a new Jewish year. For many years, my family has welcomed in the New Year using the “Home Service for Rosh Hashanah” found in All About Rosh Hashanah by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler, Illustrated by Bonnie Gordon Lucas. ©1997 Kar-Ben Publishing. We light the candles, say the blessing over the wine, bless the round challah and then dip a slice of apple into honey and say the blessing for a sweet New Year. After all that, we begin our holiday meal.
As I think about preparing for this tradition, however, I am reminded that bees are in trouble all over the world. What if there was no honey for us to dip our apples in? Several new books have been published recently to warn of the bees’ plight and seek everyone’s help in looking out for them.
What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year by Allison Ofanansky. Photographs by Eliyahu Alpern. ©2011. Kar-Ben Publishing. Ages 4-9. In this companion book to Harvest of Light and Sukkot Treasure Hunt, the author and photographer take us on a visit to the Dvorat Havator Bee Farm and Education Center in Israel to learn how bees collect pollen to make honey and to see how it is processed into the food we eat.
The Buzz on Bees: Why Are They Disappearing? by Shelley Rotner & Anne Woodhull. Photographs by Shelley Rotner. ©2010. Ages 6-10. Holiday House, Inc. In 2006, Dave Hackenburg, a professional beekeeper noticed that all of his hundreds of hives were empty. The bees were not dead, they had disappeared. This fascinating book explains why the vanishing of bees would be a terrible thing for the world. Bees do more than simply produce honey, they pollinate “one out of every three mouthfuls of food we eat.” That makes bees a pretty important insect.
The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns. Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz. ©2010. Houghton Mifflin Books for Children. Ages 8-12. This captivating book, part of the Scientists in the Field Series, delves deeply into the disappearance of bees around the world and the scientific search into the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). You will be reintroduced to Dave Hackenburg, the professional beekeeper who first discovered this frightening problem and to the beekeepers, farmers, scientists and the many others who are pursuing the various leads to the potential causes of the problem.
Honey: A Gift from Nature by Yumiko Fujiwara. Illustrated by Hideko Ise. ©2006. Kane/Miller Book Publishers, Inc. Ages 3-6. This book, for the very young, looks at bees and how they make the honey we love so much. The language is simple and direct. The illustrations are beautiful and take on the colors of each season being discussed – the greens of spring, the warm yellows of summer, the autumn golds and reds, the greys of winter. Because it was published before its discovery, this book does not go into the bee problem. Nevertheless, for the very young, this is a perfect introduction to the wonders of how honey is made.
And with all of this honey, we should have some apples to dip it in, right?
One Red Apple by Harriet Ziefert. Illustrated by Karla Gudeon. ©2009. Blue Apple Books. Ages 3-8. Using simple language, this charming book takes us on a journey from picking apples to eating, to leaving some apples for the birds. Seeds fall, a tree grows – with a pull out page – and the cycle begins again. Karla Gudeon’s paintings are bright, bold, colorful and attractive. Pair this book with What’s the Buzz? Honey for a Sweet New Year or Honey: a Gift from Nature and you will have a lovely read-aloud time with your family for the New Year.
Wishing you and yours a sweet, healthy and book-filled New Year. L’Shanah Tovah Tikatevu – May you be inscribed in the Book of Life for a good year.
©2011 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
Books used in this review came from my own collection, my local public library or the publisher as a review copy.
I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click on a book title referred to on my web site and purchase it from Amazon,
I may receive a very small commission on your purchase.
You will incur no additional cost, however.
I appreciate your support.