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Hanukkah (Chanukah) begins at sunset on December 18, 2022 and ends at nightfall on December 26, 2022. Here are a few books to help kids learn more about Hanukkah, as well as songs and games that are special to this holiday. This week in our homeschool we will read these books together, sing a few of the songs, and of course play the dreidel game. My son has been begging me for weeks!
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival commemorating the recovery of Jerusalem and rededication of the Second Temple in 165 bc by the Maccabees after its desecration by the Syrians. Hanukkah lasts eight days from the 25th day of Kislev (in December) and is marked by the successive lighting of eight lights. Hanukkah is also called the Festival of Lights.
A menorah, or “lamp” in Hebrew traditionally holds seven branched candelabra and was lit every day in the Tabernacle or Holy Temple. The Hanukkah menorah holds eight candles including a ninth candle (the shamash or helper candle) from which the other candles are lit.
There are many books for children to teach them about Hanukkah. I am sharing just four books today. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Miriam Sagasti is a sweet board book for the littlest ones. This is actually the only singable Hanukkah book I have. You can sing the song “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah” along with the book. The illustrations are of a few children and their seemingly life-like animal friends.
Celebrating Chanukah: Eight Nights from Creative Teaching Press is a simple reader that teaches the basics of how Hanukkah is celebrated. This year I will have my eldest son read this book aloud as part of our reading time. It is simple enough for him to practice reading aloud.
The Story of Hanukkah by Bobbi Katz goes into a little more depth explaining the history of the Festival of Lights. This book has beautiful illustrations and does a wonderful job of beginning with two children who are preparing for Hanukkah and then takes us back 2,000 years ago to the when the Jews experienced the miracle of lights.
Finally Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah! A Treasury of Stories, Songs, and Games to Share is a wonderful collection of activities for kids to engage in during this special holiday. Singing and playing the Dreidel, dancing the Hora, and stories and traditional songs are just a few. I love the illustrations of this book! I also love the songs which are included here. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah and In My Window bring me right back to my years of teaching music education in the elementary schools in MA all of those years ago.
What are your favorite children’s books about Hanukkah that you can share with us? I’d love to hear from you!