Best Kids Books About Hanukkah

Our Favorite 17 Books to Read to Celebrate Hanukkah

Updated Feb. 9, 2019

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated for eight days in December. Hanukkah celebrates the rededication of the Jewish Temple by the Maccabees, and is also referred to as the Festival of Lights.

Grab some of our favorite Hanukkah books, enjoy, Hanukkah Sameach (Happy Hanukkah)!

The Trees of the Dancing Goats book
#1
The Trees of the Dancing Goats
Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a wonderful story of helping one another celebrate the holidays, no matter which one you celebrate. I loved the message that giving to those in need is always better than getting. This is also a great story about the miracles of Hanukkah!

Trisha loves the eight days of Hanukkah, when her mother stays home from work, her Babushka makes delicious potato latkes, and her Grampa carves wonderful animals out of wood as gifts for Trisha and her brother. In the middle of her family's preparation for the festival of lights, Trisha visits her closest neighbors, expecting to find them decorating their house for Christmas. Instead they are all bedridden with scarlet fever. Trisha's family is one of the few who has been spared from the epidemic. It is difficult for them to enjoy their Hanukkah feast when they know that their neighbors won't be able to celebrate their holiday. Then Grampa has an inspiration: they will cut down trees, decorate them, and secretly deliver them to the neighbors, "But what can we decorate them with?" Babushka asks. Although it is a sacrifice, Trisha realizes that Grampa's carved animals are the perfect answer. Soon her living room is filled with trees — but that is only the first miracle of many during an incredible holiday season. Based on a long cherished childhood memory, this story celebrates the miracle of true friendship.

The Night Before Hanukkah book
#2
The Night Before Hanukkah
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a clever Hanukkah rendition of 'Twas the Night before Christmas, filled with catchy rhymes and explanations for different Hanukkah traditions. It moves right along and is a fun one to listen to being read aloud!

The newest title in the bestselling Night Before series is the perfect gift for every girl and boy who celebrates Hanukkah! It’s the night before the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins, and everyone is excited! Each evening, the family gathers to light the candles and share holiday traditions such as playing dreidel, eating latkes, and exchanging gifts. The seventeenth title in Natasha Wing’s bestselling series, The Night Before Hanukkah captures all the joy and love in one of the most wonderful times of the year!

Hanukkah Bear book
#3
Hanukkah Bear
Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

I LOVED the illustrations in this one. The story about a bear who (unwittingly) impersonate a rabbi is silly and fun, and gives you a taste for some Hanukkah traditions. I was definitely hungry for latkes after reading this one!

A bear wakes to a wonderful smell that leads him to the house of Bubba Brayna. Bubba Brayna makes the best latkes in the village, but at ninety-seven, she doesn't hear or see well. When the bear arrives at her door, she believes he is her rabbi. Bubba Brayna and the bear light the menorah, play the dreidel game, and eat all the latkes. The mix-up is revealed, Bubba Brayna has a laugh about it, and everyone works together to make more latkes. The Chanukkah Guest by Eric A. Kimmel (Holiday House, 1990, o.p.) now has a new title, a shorter text, and new illustrations.

Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein book
#4
Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein
Written by Amanda Peet, Andrea Troyer and illustrated by Christine Davenier
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This is a great holiday book for those who celebrate Hanukkah and have many friends that celebrate Christmas. Rachel feels a little left out since she doesn't get to celebrate Christmas, but learns that there are a lot of great holidays! The illustrations in this book are pretty cute, and there are some funny moments to the story that I appreciated. :)

For anyone who's ever asked "Why can't we have a Christmas tree?" comes a lighthearted story about being Jewish during the holiday season—by actress Amanda Peet! Rachel Rosenstein is determined to celebrate Christmas this year—and the fact that her family is Jewish is not going to stop her. In a series of hilarious and heartwarming mishaps, Rachel writes a letter to Santa explaining her cause, pays him a visit at the mall, and covertly decorates her house on Christmas Eve (right down to latkes for Santa and his reindeer). And while Rachel may wrestle with her culture, customs, and love of sparkly Christmas ornaments, she also comes away with a brighter understanding of her own identity and of the gift of friends and family. Inspired by actress Amanda Peet's experience with her own children, Dear Santa, Love, Rachel Rosenstein is sure to be a new holiday classic!

Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah book
#5
Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah
Written by Tilda Balsley and illustrated by David Harrington
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a fantastic telling of the story of the Maccabees and the origin of Hanukkah, at least for someone like myself who wasn't super familiar with the full history before! The rhyming keeps the story moving, and there's enough detail given to make me feel like I learned a lot without being bogged down.

Judah and the little army of Maccabees fight to free Jerusalem from the cruel King Antiochus in this vibrant and action-filled rhyming version of the famous Hanukkah story.

Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale book
#6
Simon and the Bear: A Hanukkah Tale
Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Matthew Trueman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This was a great story about miracles, selflessness, Hanukkah and friendship. The illustrations were beautiful too!

Before Simon sails to America, he promises his family that he will get a job and send for them. Simon's mother knows he will need a miracle, so she reminds him to celebrate Hanukkah wherever he may be. Little does either of them know that Simon will spend the first night of Hanukkah on an ice floe after his ship sinks.The lone survivor out in the wide ocean, Simon lights the first candle, and it attracts a visitor: a polar bear. Does she eat him? No! She shares his latkes, enjoys his songs, goes fishing for him, and even keeps him warm at night. By the last day of Hanukkah, Simon has nearly given up hope of ever being rescued. But then he recounts all of the miracles that have befallen him so far. Perhaps it is not too much to hope for one more, he thinks, as he lights all of the candles in the menorah. The bright glow signals a passing ship, and Simon makes it to New York after all. This fanciful Hanukkah tale-like none you've ever read before-celebrates eight miracles: family, friendship, hope, selflessness, sharing, faith, courage, and love. A retelling of the ancient Hanukkah story is included on the last page.

My First Chanukah book
#7
My First Chanukah
Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

This book does a great job of simply explaining Chanukah without crowding in too many facts. It also has cute illustrations.. :)

Describes the traditional celebration of Chanukah, including the lighting of candles on the menorah, the eating of latkes, and the spinning of the dreidl. On board pages.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? book
#8
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?
Written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5
Thoughts from Mr. Stacatto

Will the dinosaurs be mischievous and blow out the menorah candles or will they join in the prayers and sharing the dreidel? Those are the questions posed in this humerous book about celebrating Hanukkah. It's a fun book that teaches good behavior and covers several aspects of the holiday.

From the warm glow of holiday candles in the menorah to the fun of family gatherings, little dinosaurs love to celebrate the Festival of Lights. But sometimes the excitement of Chanukah, its treasured rituals, and the tradition of gifts can tempt a youngster to misbehave. . . . Come along on a joyful romp filled with tumbling dreidels and melting gelt as America's favorite prehistoric pals spread a little mischief this season. Children will laugh out loud as dinosaurs fidget, fuss, and stomp through every occasion, while their human parents shift from shock to weary patience. Filled with warmth and cheer, this new book by the bestselling team of Jane Yolen and Mark Teague makes a perfect gift to be read again and again, year after year. How do dinosaurs say Happy Chanukah? The same way they say Merry Christmas: With an abundance of love, joy, memory, and gratitude.

Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama book
#9
Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama
Written and illustrated by Selina Alko
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8
Thoughts from The Book Snob Mom

This book shows how both Hanukkah and Christmas can co-exist in one home over the holiday season, their traditions intermixing and adding to each other! I enjoyed that this showed some traditional elements from both cultures in a passing rather than fully educational way.

A delightful holiday offering no matter what you celebrate in December! I am a mix of two traditions. From Daddy Christmas and Hanukkah Mama. How lucky am I? Holiday time at Sadie's house means golden gelt sparkling under the Christmas tree, candy canes hanging on eight menorah branches, voices uniting to sing carols about Macabees and the manger, and latkes on the mantel awaiting Santa's arrival. Selina Alko's joyous celebration of blended families will make the perfect holiday gift for the many Americans who celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah.

The Story of Hanukkah book
#10
The Story of Hanukkah
Written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Jill Weber
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8
Thoughts from B is for Bookworm

A nicely illustrated story of the history of Hanukkah! This book does a good job of summing up the story without being too long for younger readers. There's even a recipe at the end for Latkes and instructions for playing Dreidel. :)

Hanukkah is a wonderful time filled with games, food, family, and fun. It's also the celebration of an ancient miracle, and retelling and remembering the story of that miracle is an essential part of the holiday, for young and old. The story of the courageous Maccabees is retold in simple yet dramatic text, accompanied by vibrant paintings of the battle, the Temple of Jersualem, and the oil which miraculously burned for eight long nights. A traditional recipe for latkes is included, as are directions for the dreidel game, for readers who want to continue the festivities at home.

All-of-a-kind Family Hannukah book
#11
All-of-a-kind Family Hannukah
Written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

The beloved characters from Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family return in this heartwarming picture book from a critically adored team—perfect for Hanukkah gift-giving! "Share this joyous holiday tale of a Jewish immigrant family all year long." — Kirkus Review, starred review Acclaimed author Emily Jenkins (A Greyhound, a Groundhog) and Caldecott Award-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky (Rapunzel) bring the beloved All-of-a-Kind Family to life in a new format. Fans, along with those just meeting the five girls ("all of a kind," as their parents say), will join them back in 1912, on the Lower East Side of NYC, and watch as preparations for Hanukkah are made. When Gertie, the youngest, is not allowed to help prepare latkes, she throws a tantrum. Banished to the girls' bedroom, she can still hear the sounds and smell the smells of a family getting ready to celebrate. But then Papa comes home and she is allowed out—and given the best job of all: lighting the first candle on the menorah. First published in 1951, Taylor's chapter books have become time-honored favorites, selling over a million copies and touching generations of readers. In this time when immigrants often do not feel accepted, the All-of-a-Kind Family gives a heartwarming glimpse of a Jewish immigrant family and their customs that is as relevant—and necessary—today as when it was first written. Jenkins and Zelinsky's charming compliment to Taylor's series perfectly captures the warmth and family values that made the original titles classics.

Meet the Latkes book
#12
Meet the Latkes
Written and illustrated by Alan Silberberg
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Imagine James Marshall's The Stupids celebrating Hanukkah, and you'd get the Latke family! Lucy Latke's family is just like yours or mine. Except that they're potato pancakes. And also, they are completely clueless. After lighting the menorah and gobbling the gelt, Grandpa Latke tells everyone the Hanukkah story, complete with mighty Mega Bees who use a giant dreidel to fight against the evil alien potatoes from Planet Chhh. It's up to the Latke family dog to set the record straight. (To start with, they were Maccabees, not Mega Bees...) But he'll have to get the rest of the Latkes to listen to him first!

Snowboy 1,2,3 book
#13
Snowboy 1,2,3
Written by Joe Wahman and illustrated by Wendy Wahman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-7

One snowboy all alone . . . . . . but he's not alone for long! Join this cheerful snowman for a wintertime counting romp, complete with a whole host of animal friends. Playful rhythms and exuberant illustrations come together to celebrate the wonder of winter.

Hanukkah Harvie Vs. Santa Claus book
#14
Hanukkah Harvie Vs. Santa Claus
Written by David Michael Slater and illustrated by Michelle Simpson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-8

Everything was going smoothly, a typical first night of Hanukkah. Or so Harvie thought! There was someone else in the house, and he had presents, too - Santa Claus! Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus is the hilarious and heartfelt story of how two holiday heroes wind up with the greatest gift of all: friendship.

Is It Hanukkah Yet? book
#15
Is It Hanukkah Yet?
Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

From snow on the ground to making applesauce and latkes to lighting the menorah, this sweet, lyrical story shows the seasonal and traditional ways we know Hanukkah is on its way.

The Eighth Menorah book
#16
The Eighth Menorah
Written by Lauren L Wohl and illustrated by Laura Hughes
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Hanukkah is a few weeks away, and Sam can't wait to celebrate with his family, especially his grandma. At Sunday school, everyone in his class is busy making clay menorahs to give as Hanukkah gifts! Sam likes how his menorah is turning out, but he’s worried—his family already has seven menorahs! Will they want another one? His teacher reassures him that his parents will love it, but Sam is determined to solve this problem on his own and find the perfect home for his menorah. Sam’s dilemma in this sweet and simple Hanukkah story is one that rings true for kids and their families.

The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin book
#17
The Dreidle That Wouldn’t Spin
Written by Martha Seif Simpson and illustrated by Durga Yael Bernhard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

“This dreidel doesn’t work!” the father had cried. “What do you mean? How can a dreidel not work?” the shopkeeper asked. It was certainly the most beautiful spinning top the shopkeeper had ever seen, with magical golden letters on its sides. But it just would not spin for two spoiled children who insisted on owning it! Later, the shopkeeper decides to try it one last time: would it spin for another child, one who carried the true spirit of Hanukkah in his heart? In this beautiful holiday story by award-winning author Martha Simpson, and brought to life by the imaginative illustrations of award-winning illustrator D. Yael Bernhard, the happiness and joy of the Hanukkah miracle will warm the heart of young and old alike with its simple message: wonders still occur for those who are ready for them. Included is a useful appendix that explains Hanukkah, and an explanation on how to play the dreidel game.

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected] with your book and list suggestion.