Pam's "Great Hanukkah Book List"

I've gone and looked for books that have wide reader approval so you don't have to schlepp around to find the good ones. And yes, I must admit that some of these are not exactly Hanukkah related. The Little Red Hen, for example, is making Matzah for Passover. But I felt okay including these books because they are wonderful to share with children any time of year.

I Have A Little Dreidel
by Maxie Baum, Julie Paschkis (Illustrator)

**Starred Review** Booklist

2007 Sydney Taylor Notable Book of Jewish Content for Children and Teens.

Description: An illustrated retelling of the classic Hannukah song. We get to see the family gathering, mama and child making latkes together, the family lighting the menorah, and then a spirited game of dreidel.

Pam's Notes: After the first round of lyrics the author keeps to the tempo and adds additional lines so that other Hanukkah activities can be covered. The artwork is stylized, like on the cover, and in deep rich colors.

We gather in the kitchen,
Each and every one'
We're going to make some latkes,
Because it's so much fun.

Oh, dreidel, dreidel,dreidel
I made it out of clay,
Oh, dreidel, dreidel,dreidel
Then dreidel I shall play.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 398
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading Level: 2.4 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 110429

by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
Jill Pinkwater (Illustrator)

**STARRED review** Kirkus Reviews

Description: AS SEEN ON NPR: Beautiful Yetta manages to escape from the butcher’s shop only to find herself lost in Brooklyn—a strange place filled with rude rats and dangerous buses! But being brave Yetta saves a small green bird from a sneaky cat, and all the wild parrots of Brooklyn are very grateful. Has she found a new home?

Enthusiastic reviews at Amazon and GoodReads!

Reading Information:
Word Count: 405
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading level: 2.0 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 140857
Lexile: AD350L

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah
by Leslie Kimmelman
Paul Meisel (Illustrator)

*Starred Review* School Library Journal

Description: Though this tale is not about Passover, it's so charming that I felt compelled to include it here.

In this story no one will help the Little Red Hen make the Passover matzah. The story has more text than other versions as it includes more information, like that the matzah has to be finished in just 18 minutes.

Includes information about Passover, a recipe for matzah, and a glossary of Yiddish words used in the story.
Sample::: The Little Red Hen was quiet too. Now I should invite them to my Seder's she thought. Then she remembered the words written in the Passover Haggadah: Let all who are hungry come and eat. She looked at her friends. They looked hungry. Besides, the Little Red Hen was a good egg -- a mensch. A mensch forgives. "And why are you just standing there?" she said finally. "Come on in."

Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,172
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading Level: 3.4 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 135559

Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story
by Laura Krauss Melmed
David Slonim (Illustrator)

**National Jewish Book Award**
**New York Times Top Ten Picture Books of the Year**

Description: Moishe, a milkman who is kind to everyone in his poor village of Wishniak, receives a magic frying pan that produces an unlimited supply of delicious Hanukkah latkes.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,587
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading Level: 4.8 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 42605

  • Publisher: Chronicle Books
  • ISBN-10: 0811852342
  • amazon.USA

Clever Rachel
by Debby Waldman, Cindy Revell (Illustrator)

**Starred review** Library Media Connection

In this retelling of the classic tale, Jacob tries to stump Rachel with is riddles, but can't. When a young woman presents them both with a riddle they find out that the best option is to work as a team.

Cheerful warm colors in kid-friendly artwork.

Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,605
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading Level: 3.7 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 135553

Lexile: AD600L
  • Publisher: Orca Book Publishers (October 1, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 1554690811
  • see sample pages

Sample: When Rachel, the innkeeper's daughter, was a baby, her father tucked her into bed not with lullabies but with riddles.

"That's crazy, meshugganah!" her mother said. "What does a baby know from riddles? I will sing to her."

But songs made Rachel wail. Fairy tales kept her awake. Riddles relaxed her, so riddles she heard.

To no ones surprise, Rachel's first sentence was a riddle.
It was a simple riddle-- "What crosses the river but cannot move?" And it made perfect sense. Just outside the inn a wooden bridge that crossed the Oilkinik River.

The Rooster Prince of Breslov
by Ann Stampler
Eugene Yelchin (Illustrator)

**Starred Review** Kirkus
*Starred Review* School Library Journal

Description: In this variation of a Yiddish folktale, a spoiled prince has a fit and assumes the speech and mannerisms of a rooster until he is locked in a room for seven days with a frail grizzled old man.

Pam's Take:
I love this story of a prince who has-it-all, and yet doesn't have enough. What does he lack? Simply the chance to share and give to others.

"You're right! replied the old man. "It's the way you treated a cold, hungry, achy old rooster that makes you a man. For it was you, Your Majesty, who wrapped me in a blanket and shared you Sabbath feast with an old traveler."

Reading Information:
Word Count: 1824
Page Count: 32
Accelerated Reading Level: 4.6 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 140261

Raisel's Riddle
by Erica Silverman
Pictures by Susan Gaber

**Starred Review** Publisher's Weekly
**Starred Review** Booklist
  • Description: A Jewish version of the Cinderella story, in which a poor but educated young woman captivates her "Prince Charming," a rabbi's son, at a Purim ball.
Reading Information:
Word Count: 1,642
Page Count: 40
Accelerated Reading level: 3.3 / points: 0.5
AR quiz: 47308
Lexile: AD270L

Other Awards for Raisel's Riddle:
  • The Best Children's Books of the Year, 2000 ; Bank Street College of Education
  • Notable Books for a Global Society, 2000 ; International Reading Association;
  • Notable Children's Books in the Language Arts, 2000 ; National Council of Teachers of English
  • Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 ; California Department of Education; California

You might also check out our other Hanukkah Book Lists: