Jewish families around the world each have their own special customs to celebrate Hanukkah. The family featured here celebrates each of the eight days of the holiday with an important ritual. On the first night they light the first candle of their silver menorah, sing songs, and take turns reading about Judah Maccabee and his friends, who refused to give up their faith two thousand years ago. On the second night they go to Grandma and Grandpa's and light two candles, then make delicious latkes (potato pancakes). On the third night they light three candles and gather together clothing and toys they don't need anymore to give away to people who aren't as lucky as they are. As each of the eight days goes by, the family builds their own set of traditions that teach them about Hanukkah and togetherness.
Written from a child's perspective, and illustrated with friendly pictures by DyAnne DiSalvo-Ryan, Michael J. Rosen's story of one family's festivities shows young readers that acceptance and love are tremendously important elements of Hanukkah. While celebrating the seventh night with close Christian friends, the child narrator says "Did I tell you that our Hanukkah is also about people of different religions living alongside one another?" Warm, cozy, and instructive in the gentlest way, this book is a treasure to be shared. (Ages 6 to 10) --Emilie Coulter
Ages 5-8. As the title indicates, this is about the way one particular family celebrates Hanukkah. Those eight nights are so warm and encompassing that many readers will want to adapt some of the narrator's traditions as their own. It's never really clear which of the older siblings is relating the events, but night by night, the narrator tells of all the things that make Hanukkah special: polishing Great-Grandmother's menorah; singing Hanukkah songs; eating latkes. On the third night, the children gather toys and clothes to give away; night four is the party at the synagogue; and night five is a dinner with family and friends, a multicultural occasion. Shopping for gifts and bringing them to a shelter, spending an evening with best friends who aren't Jewish, and finally, on night eight, opening presents with the immediate family, make for a full and joyous occasion. The story of Hanukkah, and, just as important, what the holiday means, are woven throughout. DiSalvo-Ryan's watercolors match the text in their warmth and wealth of familial detail. It's the inclusive message and the sharing across cultures, however, that may strike the most responsive chord with children. Ilene CooperCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved