Book Review | Hanukkah at Valley Forge
by Stephen Krensky

Score: 5

Having been to Valley Forge and seen the cabins described and accurately pictured in this beautifully illustrated work, I was immediately drawn to this book. In addition, the story is incredibly enchanting. Reading in the Author’s Note that it may in fact be true makes it only richer in my mind.

Hanukkah At Valley Forge describes an encounter between General George Washington and a young Polish soldier in his Revolutionary Army during a cold December. General Washington is attracted to the lights of the menorah that the young soldier has lit in his cabin. When questioned by the general the soldier tells him the story of Hanukkah in a way that remarkably relates to the battles the American Army is waging against the British.

The ideas of freedom of religion, “the choice of brave resistance or abject submission,” and the belief in miracles, are described in this book as they pertained to the Maccabees and the Revolutionary Army. But these concepts are just as relevant today and could be used in any classroom anywhere.

I believe Hanukkah At Valley Forge belongs in every Jewish library, in fact in every library that has an American history section. It could be used in public schools that have diversity programs teaching about Hanukkah. It is an excellent book for families as well.

Grade Level: K-4

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