Five Favorite Hanukkah Stories for Kids
Linda Glaser | The Children’s Book Review | November 21, 2017
Written by Fran Manushkin
Illustrated by Robin Spowart
In this sweet humorous story, a family in the old country is caught by an early blizzard without food for Hanukkah. Despite their hunger, they take in a stray kitten and then a dog. How will they feed them, much less, survive themselves? However, miraculously, the little dog and kitten help the family find apples and potatoes so they can all enjoy a Hanukkah feast. The soft simple pastels add to the sweetness of the story. I fell in love with this book years ago. In fact, finding such kindness, humor, and sweet spirit in a Hanukkah book inspired me to write The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes—which is actually another favorite Hanukkah story of mine.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Scholastic | 1992 | ISBN-13: 978-0590422659
Written by Steven Schnur
Illustrated by Stephen T. Johnson
In this poignant story, a family offers hospitality and caring to a lonely old man on the last night of Chanukah. In return, the man tells a story of a Chanukah miracle from his life back in the old country. The young boy, Seth, learns about hospitality and caring by his parents’ example. A spirit of kindness and welcome is woven beautifully throughout.
Ages 4+ | Publisher: William Morrow & Co| 1995 | ISBN-13: 978-0688134631
Written by Eric Kimmel
Illustrated by Giora Carni
What a fun book! On the first night of Chanukkah, Bubba Brayna, who is nearly blind and deaf, mistakes a bear for the rabbi who she is expecting for dinner. She innocently tries to tug off the “rabbi’s” coat and then feeds the “rabbi” latkes. Each step of the way, the story becomes more and more hilarious. This book can be read over and over and still bring many good laughs to children and adults alike.
Ages 4+ | Publisher: Holiday House| 1990 | ISBN-13: 978-0823407880
Written by Sylvia Rouss
Illustrated by Katherine Janus Kahn
As a preschool religious school teacher, this book is one of my favorites. Preschoolers love Sammy Spider! In this one, Sammy Spider wishes he could enjoy Hanukkah like Josh Shapiro. But his mother reminds him, “Spiders don’t spin dreidels, spiders spin webs.” However, Sammy Spider does manage to have his own Hanukkah experience while also capturing the hearts of preschoolers in a way that I find truly magical.
Ages 4-6 | Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing | 1993 | ISBN-13: 978-0929371467
Written by Tanya Simon
Illustrated by Mark Siegel
This book is a real treasure. In spare language and beautiful illustrations, the reader follows young Oskar from his home in Europe where his family experienced Kristallnacht to New York City where he hopes to find his aunt’s house before she lights the Hanukkah candles. He journeys alone with only his father’s wise words to give him courage: “Even in bad times, people can be good. Look for blessings.” This heart-warming and uplifting story reminds us of the power of simple acts of caring.
Ages 4-8 | Publisher: Roaring Brook Press | 2015 | ISBN-13: 978-1596439498
Written by Linda Glaser
Illustrated by Aleksandar Zolotic
Publisher’s Synopsis: Faigel makes the best Hanukkah latkes in Chelm, but somehow, this year she’s forgotten how to make them! She sends her husband, Shmuel, to ask the rabbi for help. And in Chelm, the village of fools—oy vey!—this becomes a recipe for disaster!
Ages 3-8 | Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing | 2017 | ISBN-13: 978-1512420937
About the Author
Linda Glaser is the award-winning author of over 30 children’s books including the Sydney Taylor Award-winning Hannah s Way and Reading Rainbow featured book Our Big Home, An Earth Poem. In addition to teaching and writing, she conducts writing workshops for schoolchildren and adults. She lives in Minnesota.
About the Illustrator
Aleksandar Zolotic is an award-winning illustrator who lives in Serbia with his family. In addition to illustrating children’s books, he has worked on comic books and video games.
Linda Glaser, author of Way Too Many Latkes: A Hanukkah in Chelm, selected these five favorite Hanukkah stories for kids. Discover more articles on The Children’s Book Review tagged with Chanukah or Hanukkah.