Customer Reviews: The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate (Concept Books (Albert Whitman))
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on September 28, 2005
I remember that night in December 1993. As Christians, we displayed the full paged Menorah from the Billings Gazette in our window. It was a message to the skinhead(s) that hatred and bigotry have NO place in Billings, Montana or anywhere else.
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on December 11, 1998
I first saw the documentary of the true story in Billings, Montana on which this book was based. The story comes to life through simple yet powerful words and vivid drawings. When thousands of non-Jewish citizens, including young children, fight bigotry by putting menorahs in their windows, they inspire us that no issue is too big to face head on. Every child over the age of nine should read this book, no matter what the racial or religious make up of his or her community.
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on November 21, 2001
I don't generally review children's books but, I bought this for my niece and read it. I was touched by this heartwarming tale. This is a true story of the people of Billings, Montana who stood up against hatred when anti semitic skinheads through rocks through the windows of Jewish homes displaying Hanukkah menorahs. The good people of this city got together and displayed menorahs also. Since there were not enough menorahs avilable, many displayed pictures of menorahs.
This charming account is told from the point of view of a young boy whose window was smashed. Seeing the events unfurl from his eyes and the eyes of his parents truly humanized the account of events. It is written to read like a fictional story even though, for the most part, the events are true. This book is worth reading by the whole family, Jewish and non Jewish alike. All kids, even good readers, are entitled to be read to occasionally and this book should be read by the family together.
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on November 20, 2002
The Christmas Menorahs is a compelling story. The Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles selected this book to be included in its public radio production "One People, Many Stories." One People, Many Stories is a 6 CD set of over 30 children's Jewish stories read by Hollywood talent. This particular story was read by actor,Bill Pullman who happens to own a ranch in Montana...the location of this true story of tolerance and sensitivity. You can purchase the CD set (6 CD set $$$) to hear Bill Pullman read The Christmas Menorahs
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on November 4, 1998
I bought this book last holiday season for everyone in my family (from 3 to 70)! It's a powerful true story of diverse families coming together and working together to put an end to hate crimes during Hanukkah in their small town. Families realize their similarities, even though they are Christian and Jewish. To me, this story is a story of the holiday season - and the spirit of human kindness - at its finest. A wonderful book to read during the holiday season!
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on December 27, 2013
This books has a very important message, but it's a bit dry perhaps in an effort to remain true to the actual happenings it lacks imagery. Without the verbal imagery, the fear of the characters is hard to feel. At times the adults and children alike were restless for the story to pick up, and our kids aren't little. However, I really like the message and it was a great book for our first year learning about Hanukkah and enforcing that we should respect other people's beliefs even if they are different from our own. I also like the main character's realization that he doesn't have to be embarrassed or ashamed that he celebrates a different holiday.
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on December 26, 2003
This is one of the best books for kids during the holidays (or year round for that matter). It's great for adults too, I look forward to reading it every Hanukah.
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on December 6, 2013
I was so excited to hear this book existed! I was in high school when the hate crimes were happening in Billings. My family was one of the first (of many) non-Jewish families to put up menorahs in our windows. We lived on a busy street and wanted to make sure the message was sent loud and clear that we would not allow hatred like that. When the Gazette published the full page menorah, it got a special place right in the middle of our big picture window. Many depictions of the story have given the impression that Billings was a small town. While 100,000 people wasn't exactly a metropolis, it was a decent sized little city. I don't know the exact number, but I would guess roughly half of the houses had menorahs in their windows - both the one from the paper and ones they had gone out and bought on their own. It was so touching to drive through the streets of our city and see menorahs everywhere you looked. It has made a huge impact on my life. There truly is power in numbers!

Now the trick is figuring out how to read the book to my daughter without blubbering so hard she can't understand what I'm saying!
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on January 26, 2006
Our kids have turned this into a play, which they have enacted the past three years at Chanukah. It's an important about tolerance fighting hate.

This is an important story for Jewish and non-Jewish children.
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on February 9, 2013
I bought this as a gift (I've had my own copy for many years). It is the story of how the faith community in Billings MT rallied in support of Jewish families whose homes were being vandalized. It is suitable for older children and adults, and I have used it several times in worship (I am a retired minister) as an example of what people of faith can do when they work together. The illustrations are lovely, too.
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