Our family celebrates Christmas, but I also feel it’s important to learn about other cultures and traditions. And of course, when we want to learn something new, we turn to — books! That’s where the inspiration for this list of Hanukkah books originated.
These books about Hanukkah are great for families who celebrate the holiday, as well as families like ours who want to learn more about a different religion. Big thanks to my dear friend Becci for suggesting some Hanukkah books her family has used and loved during their celebration!
Hanukkah Books for Kids
Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel
Every year, the goblins ruin Hanukkah for the people of a small village. But one year, a smart man named Herschel arrives with a way to outwit them. A great story about perseverance in the midst of what seems like a hopeless situation.
Sammy Spider’s First Hanukkah by Sylvia A. Rouss
Sammy Spider wants so badly to celebrate Hanukkah with the Shapiro family, but Mrs. Shapiro insists that spiders spin webs, not dreidels. Will Sammy get to join in the fun?
How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah? by Jane Yolen
The dinosaurs are very excited about the season…but sometimes they have a hard time holding still or staying quiet! Kids will love this funny story about how dinosaurs celebrate a special holiday.
Latke, the Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer
Latke was adopted from the animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah — what a lucky pup! He has a hard time learning the ropes of his new home at first, but soon finds his place in the family. The story is sweet, the illustrations are gorgeous, and I love any book that highlights animal adoption!
The Story of Hanukkah by David A. Adler
I love Adler’s straightforward and educational Picture Book Biographies, and this book is just as good. It’s a lovely retelling of the Hanukkah story that is enjoyable whether it’s your first time hearing or your hundredth. It also includes a recipe for latkes and instructions on playing dreidel.
Macabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley
This is a fun rhyming book that tells the story of Hanukkah in a way that is easy for kids to understand. My favorite part would have to be David Harrington’s illustrations, which are bright and full of life!
My First Chanukah by Tomie dePaola
The perfect way to introduce your littlest book lovers to the holiday. This board book features gorgeous illustrations and a simple explanation of the holiday.
The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing
This take on the Christmas classic shares all the reasons to get excited about the arrival of Hanukkah. This is a particularly good choice for explaining Hanukkah traditions to those who might be unfamiliar with them.
Hanukkah, Shmanukkah! by Esme Raji Codell
Old Scroogemacher is a miserly old man who treats his workers poorly, and he doesn’t even give them a break on the last night of Hanukkah. When his nephew Moshe challenges him, he replies with an angry, “Hanukkah, Schmanukkah!” That evening, he’s visited by three magical rabbis who set him straight. This Jewish take on A Christmas Carol is a really fun read.
Hanukkah Hamster by Michelle Markel
The holiday season is a busy one for Edgar. As a cab driver, he spends his days driving people to and fro as they prepare to celebrate the holidays. One day, someone leaves a hamster in Edgar’s cab. Edgar takes the little hamster home to care for him, and gives him the name Chickpea. Edgar is celebrating Hanukkah alone this year, and Chickpea becomes a beloved source of companionship for him. But what will happen when Chickpea’s owner is found?
Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Jacob is excited when Steven moves into the neighborhood; he loves having a new friend to play with. But Steven thinks Jacob’s brother, Nathan is weird. Nathan has autism, and the way he fixates on certain parts of the Hanukkah celebration is embarrassing for Jacob. But at the same time, Jacob feels protective of his brother, who Steven seems to have dismissed. Jacob works to find a way to explain to his new friend that Nathan’s differences are something to celebrate.
All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah by Emily Jenkins
Based on Sydney Taylor’s classic chapter book series, this picture book follows and Jewish immigrant family as they prepare to celebrate Hanukkah in 1912. In this story, little Gertie is upset when she is told she cannot help make latkes; so upset that she throws a huge fit. She must stay in her room as punishment while her family works to prepare the food for the evening. However, when Papa gets home, Gertie gets to play a special role in the Hanukkah observance.
Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster
On a cold winter day, Ruthie puts on her red coat and heads out to visit her grandmother for Hanukkah. As the snow begins to fall, Ruthie gets lost and encounters a wolf along the trail. Can Ruthie convince the wolf that Grandma’s latkes will taste better than she will?
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