This holiday season, light the menorah, spin the dreidel and curl up with a good family story about Hanukkah. Whether told through the eyes of a child, elf or yes, even a latke, here are eight funny and educational books–one for each night–that will teach your kids about the Festival of Lights.
Night 1: Dear Santa, Love Rachel Rosenstein
Best for ages: 3-7
Great for any child who has ever felt left out during the holiday season when it seems everyone is decorating their Christmas trees, this book follows a young Jewish girl who tries to get Santa to visit her. Through plenty of relatable humor and colorful illustrations, she ultimately finds a better understanding of her Jewish identity and an appreciation for the friends and family who are just like her.
Night 2: Latke, the Lucky Dog
Best for ages: 2-7
A family adopts a golden brown dog from a shelter on the first night of Hanukkah and appropriately names him Latke. But since Latke doesn’t know the rules of the house, he chews open the presents, eats a dreidel and slobbers all over the Menorah candles. Told from the dog’s point of view, Latke learns about what it’s like to have a family and to celebrate this special holiday.
Night 3: Meet the Latkes
Best for ages: 3-5
Grandpa Latke recounts the story of Hanukkah for his granddaughter Lucy, but it starts to get a little wacky when he can’t remember all of the details and some silly things start to happen. Luckily, the dog is able to set the story straight.
Night 4: Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah
Best for ages: 5-6
The story of Hanukkah beautifully unfolds through the eyes of a spider as he watches a Jewish family light a candle and spin the dreidel each night. Entertaining and educational for young ones, the story is part of a Sammy Spider book series that teaches children about Jewish holidays.
Night 5: Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf
Best for ages: 3-6
Shmelf is one of the hardest working elves in the North Pole. But just as he’s double checking Santa’s list in preparation for Christmas, he notices that some children who celebrate Hanukkah are missing from the list. When he investigates further, he discovers the wonderful traditions of Hanukkah.
Night 6: Goodnight Bubbala
Best for ages: 2-6
OK, so you’ve read Goodnight Moon for the 90th time and are ready for something new. Enter, Goodnight Bubbala, a parody that helps introduce Yiddish, family and the Hanukkah traditions with a Goodnight twist.
Night 7: Indestructibles: Hanukkah Baby
Best for ages: 0-3
The Hanukkah primer is great for the littlest of littles, who like to put everything in their mouths. With the focus on the family time of the holiday, babies and early toddlers can learn about dreidels, songs and lighting the candles again and again, even if they like to eat books as much as latkes.
Night 8: The Hanukkah Trike
Best for ages: 3-6
Gabi receives the tricycle she’s been wanting in the first night of Hanukkah. But when she falls off, her mother reminds her to be brave like the Maccabees by getting back on and trying again. This book combines holiday history and traditions with a Hanukkah heroism lesson that can be applied today.
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This story originally published Nov. 26, 2018 and has been updated with newer book titles.