The Trees of the Dancing Goats

Written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco

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5.6

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.

Hanukkah Bear

Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka

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5.1

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.

Maccabee!: The Story of Hanukkah

Written by Tilda Balsley and illustrated by David Harrington

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5.0

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

Written by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Matthew Trueman

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5.0

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.

Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein

Written by Andrea Troyer, Amanda Peet and illustrated by Christine Davenier

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5.0

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!

My First Chanukah

Written and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

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4.8

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.

The Story of Hanukkah

Written by David A. Adler and illustrated by Jill Weber

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4.3

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.

Daddy Christmas & Hannukah Mama

Written and illustrated by Selina Alko

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4.3

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.

A Moon for Moe and Mo

Written by Jane Breskin Zalbin and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

An interfaith friendship develops when Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, overlaps with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan--an occurence that happens only once every thirty years or so. Moses Feldman, a Jewish boy, lives at one end of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, while Mohammed Hassan, a Muslim boy, lives at the other. One day they meet at Sahadi's market while out shopping with their mothers and are mistaken for brothers. A friendship is born, and the boys bring their families together to share rugelach and date cookies in the park as they make a wish for peace.

Is It Purim Yet?

Written by Chris Barash and illustrated by Alessandra Psacharopulo

It's nearly spring, which means it's time to celebrate the cheerful Jewish holiday of Purim. Purim recounts the time when Esther, Queen of Persia, saved the Jews from the evil Haman, who wanted to execute the Jewish people. It's a time to dress up in costumes, fill the hamantashen, swing the noisemakers, and read the Megillah scroll. Join a family as they celebrate the bravery of Queen Esther and the joy of being together.

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