Favorite Hanukkah Books for Kids
Hanukkah Baby (Indestructibles) by Ekaterina Trukhan
It’s Hanukkah. See the treats, light the menorah, and spin the dreidel. This is a rip-proof, waterproof, lightweight book that gently introduces some Hanukkah traditions.
Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg
My First Jewish Baby Book by Julie Merberg and Beck Feiner
Although this isn’t a Hanukkah book per se, it would be a fantastic gift book to give to a young reader during the celebration of Hanukkah. This rhyming alphabet book begins with “A is for AFIKOMEN. The AFIKOMEN is hidden before the seder. (It’s a piece of matzo you hunt for later.)” Some pages have more than one word for the letter — B is for bagels, babka, brisket, borscht, beets, bris, Bar Mitzvah, Bat Mitzvah, and bubbe. It’s both serious and playful with Menorah and Rosh Hashanah to Oy Vey and Verklempt. The colorful, graphic art makes this a winning combination of content and visuals.
D is for Dreidel: A Hanukkah Alphabet by Greg Paprocki
This is a must-own Hanukkah alphabet book your kids will enjoy reading again and again. I particularly love the sixties style illustrations. A family with two children celebrates the holiday of Hanukkah from a to z as the text begins, “A is for alphabet // B is for blessing // C is for candles” and continues to “Y is for yontiff // Z is for zaide”. The words and pictures will give you and your kids many opportunities to discuss important traditions and meanings. It would also be a great book for beginning readers to read aloud to friends and family.
My First Chanukah by Tomie dePaola
The narrator shares simple information about the Chanukah holiday for babies and toddlers. It begins, “Chanukah is the Feast of Lights. Every year we celebrate it for eight nights.” dePaola’s lovely folk art watercolors show a house, a menorah, candles, and more.
Chanukah Lights by Michael Rosen and Robert Sabuda
This pop-up book is a work of art! Beautiful doesn’t even begin to describe the sensations and feelings this paper art evokes in the reader. Chanukah’s Lights is about the history of the Jewish people as they search for a homeland and rebuild their communities told through the lens of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. However, the text is so simple that it doesn’t really explain the illustrations or the meaning of the holiday.
Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley, illustrated by David Harrington
The rhyming text shares the history of Hanukkah and how Judah and his army of Maccabees stood up to the Greek King Antiochus for the right to worship their own god. I’m not a huge fan of the rhyming but really do like the super-hero retelling and illustrations in this Hanukkah book for kids.
The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S. Perl, illustrated by Shahar Kober
After a recent move, Max and Rachel’s parents can’t find their Hannakah box with their menorah, dreidels, candles, or latke pan. Each night of the holiday, the family makes the best of their situation with borrowed items from neighbors and creative thinking but it just doesn’t feel like Hanukkah. Finally, on the 9th night, the kids have the best idea — invite all the neighbors to share in the celebration. And, just in the nick of time, the missing Hannakah box arrives. A darling story of family, tradition, growth mindset, and community.
Red and Green and Blue and White by Lee Wind, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Issac’s neighborhood looks red and green for all the Christmas decorations but his house is blue and white for Hanukkah. When someone throws a rock through a window in Issac’s house, his neighbor Teresa makes an illustration of a menorah to put in her window. Then, the other neighbors also added blue and white menorahs to show their support and solidarity for their Jewish neighbors.
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Not only do I love this classic story because it celebrates a Jewish folk hero and folklore (goblins) but it’s an insipring story that shows how intelligence can outwit tricky adversaries. Goblins have taken over the synagogue so Hershel determines to stop them so that the villagers can light the candles and celebrate Hanukkah.
The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol by Arthur A. Levine, illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
A feel-good story about Jewish families sharing and giving gifts for Hanukkah…Nate is a kind spirit who loves stretching people’s supplies whether it’s oil or chocolates. He especially loves helping the Glaser family. When the Glasers have nothing left to stretch for Hanukkah gifts, Nate gives Santa some of his magic and Santa gives Nate some chocolate. Which he stretches for the Glasers, along with other special gifts as well.
Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel, illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
Bubba Brayna doesn’t see or hear very well so she doesn’t realize that her houseguest isn’t the rabbi. But readers know. Kids will crack up as they watch a bear enjoying Bubba Brayna’s delicious cooking, playing the dreidel game, and helping light the menorah. When the rabbi arrives later in the evening with other neighbors, they’ll figure out who the earlier, mysterious guest really was.
The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler, illustrated by Jill Weber
The vibrant illustrations completely draw readers in– gorgeous! And the story– it’s a simple, kid-friendly history about the situation in Judea when the Greek king Antiochus became king… and what the Maccabees did for their faith. Wonderful.
Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster, illustrated by Sue Eastland
Little Ruthie travels to her Bubbe’s house with sour cream and applesauce. She convinces the scary wolf not to eat her but to join her for latkes at her Bubbe’s house. You’ll love the fun rewritten fairy tale, the Hanukkah details, and all the yummy foods described!
Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Tany Simon and Richard Simon, illustrated by Mark Siegel
Fleeing the Nazi persecution in Europe, Oskar comes to New York City alone and with only a photo and an address for his aunt. He arrives on the 7th day of Hanukkah and Christmas Eve. As he walks over 100 blocks to find his aunt’s address, he feels tired, hungry, and cold yet he is welcomed with beautiful, small acts of kindness. Atmospheric illustrations set the scene in this heart-warming story you can read any time of year.
Eight Knights of Hanukkah by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Galia Bernstein
An entertaining medieval Hanukkah adventure! When a dragon interrupts the village’s Hanukkah party plans, the Eight (brave and goodly) Knights of Hanukkah, a mixed-gender group, step in to help. While two of the knights chase the fire-breathing dragon, the other knights provide a different kind of assistance. For example, Sir Gabriel peels potatoes for latkes, Sir Margaretuses her lance to help pick apples, and Sir Julian brings chicken soup to the sick. Finally, Sir Isabela and Sir Rugelach find the ferocious creature who is just a baby dragon named Rosie who joins the villagers for the Hanukkah festivities.
Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah by Deborah Heiligman
Simple text introduces the holiday using color photographs that show how people around the world celebrate. You’ll also find directions to make a menorah, a recipe for potato latkes, and instructions to play the dreidel game.
Light the Menorah!: A Hanukkah Handbook by Jacqueline Jules, illustrated by Kristina Swarner
The author shares reflections for each night of Hanukkah that tell the story of the Maccabees plus blessing to read for the candle-lighting. This book also includes activities, songs, and recipes. Overall, it’s a wonderful guidebook for families to teach their children about the meaning behind the rituals of the holiday.