The Eight Books of Hanukkah

Whether you spell the holiday “Hanukkah” or “Chanukah,” reading books with your children is a great way to spend time together as a family during the holiday season.  With all of the choices out there, how do you decide which ones are best?

Standing in the library, turning page after page after page, we were just as baffled as you, so we called on Children’s Librarian Leigh Ramey and asked for her recommendations.  Leigh let us in on this year’s choices for her annual “The Eight Books of Hanukkah” list and gave us her thoughts on each.  Keep reading for a look into her current favorites to help little ones learn about and celebrate the eight-day Festival of Lights.    

For more suggestions on the best books to read with your family, follow Leigh throughout the year on Instagram @wordswithalice

First up is Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka.  What happens when a bear wanders into Bubba Brayna’s house, tempted by the scent of her delicious latkes?  Don’t worry folks, there’s a happy ending. 


Babies love the board book The Itsy Bitsy Dreidel, and they also love hearing YOU sing to them! That’s easy to do when so many children’s books use popular tunes you already know.  The Itsy Bitsy Dreidel was written by Jeffrey Burton and Chani Tornow.  


I love a retelling of a fairy tale, and growing up, Little Red Riding Hood was always my favorite.  I had a red cape that saw many hours of pretend play.  Little Red Ruthie by Gloria Koster is a sweet Hanukkah version of the story that’s perfect for this time of year. 


American folk legend Woody Guthrie wrote Honeyky Hanukah; inspired by the close relationship he had with his mother-in-law, a Yiddish poet in Brooklyn named Aliza Greenblatt.  This book comes with a CD featuring Guthrie’s song recorded by the Klezmatics.


Hoppy Hanukkah by Linda Glaser and illustrated by Daniel Howarth is a cute little story of a rabbit family coming together to celebrate the Festival of Lights.  


Chanukah Lights is a beaufiful pop-up book by Robert Sabuda and Michael J. Rosen. I have a small collection of pop-up books by Sabuda, and I love the intricate designs in each of these little works of art.


Celebrate all the things!  Daddy Christmas & Hanukkah Mama by Selina Alko does a great job of explaining the traditions of both Hanukkah and Christmas through the eyes of a single family, and how they create one very festive season!


Just one more to wrap up the The Eight Books of Hanukkah, a book that shows the joy of being together with family while having one big par-tay!  Everyone get ready to do The Hanukkah Hop with Erica Silverman and illustrator Steven D’Amico.