December 21st is the first day of Hanukkah and on Tuesday evening families around the world will light their first candle, say blessings, and partake in family rituals that will last 8 days while celebrating a miracle 2000 years old.
Hanukkah is a celebration of freedom and hope, a time for family gatherings, dinners, latkes, presents, songs and dreidel games. Chag Urim Sameach! Our Hanukkah gift to you is a list of Phyllis Simon’s faves for 2011:
Hanukkah: Bright Baby Touch and Feel
Menorah, latkes, blessings…A perfect interactive first book of Hanukkah for babies.
Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah!
Y’mei ha’hanukka was a 19th Century European Yiddish folk tune. (Listen to Theodore Bikel sing the song in Yiddish and English here.) This picture book adaptation has lyrics in English and wonderful expressive illustrations by Olga and Aleksey Ivanov. See the PJ Library link here for more titles of Jewish bedtime stories and songs for families. Ages 3+
Join Rachel as she and her family prepare for their Hanukkah Hop and dance all night to the wonderful sounds of the Klezmer band, “swaying and snapping”, “wiggling, giggling” and “flap-flap flapping!” Ages 4+
My source tells me that Omnitsky’s Deli at 41st and Cambie is the place for take-out kosher latkes and my advice is stock up before reading Golem’s Latkes! A wonderful appetite inspiring adaptation by Eric Kimmel, Golem’s Latkes is inspired by the golem legend and an old tale you might recognize, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Ages 4+
First published in Cricket magazine in 1985, and later published with Caldecott Honor award-winning illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins is a tried and true Hanukkah story. “Hershel is so smart” declares the 7 year-old intern and thank goodness or who would save Hanukkah? A must-read for book lovers! Ages 5+
There can be no more beautiful celebration of Hanukkah in book form than Michael Rosen and Robert Sabuda’s 2011 paper engineered pop-up book, Chanukah Lights.
Chanukah Lights is an eloquent, magical exploration of history, light and faith as symbolized by the lighting of the menorah and quite simply a beautiful book to be enjoyed by the whole family, year after year. (See the publisher’s virtual tour here.)