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The Jewish Press of Tampa and the Jewish Press of Pinellas County are Independently- owned biweekly Jewish community newspapers published in cooperation with and supported by the Tampa JCC & Federation and the Jewish Federation of Pinellas & Pasco Counties, respectively. Copyright © 2009-2018 The Jewish Press Group of Tampa Bay, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


December 1, 2017  RSS feed

Text: T T T

Here are eight new children’s books for Hanukkah

By PENNY SCHWARTZ JTA news service

BOSTON – Move over, potato latkes. Make room for dosas. The savory fried Indian lentil and rice pancakes take center stage in Queen of the Dosas, a gem of a new Hanukkah book by the award-winning children’s writer Pamela Ehrenberg.

It’s among eight new Hanukkah books for kids – one for each night of the holiday– sure to kindle the flames of imagination in young readers.

The bounty of this season’s books travel the globe, from city life to wooded forests, with engaging – and many humorous – stories and dazzling illustrations that reflect the diversity in how Jewish families celebrate the holiday. Old World traditions mix it up with new rituals taking root in today’s modern American Jewish families.

These new reads showcase the many ways Jewish families from all walks of life celebrate the Festival of Lights

Way Too Many Latkes:
A Hanukkah in Chelm

Linda Glaser; illustrated by

Aleksandar Zolotic; ages 3-8

Oy vey! It’s the first night of Hanukkah and Faigel, the best latke maker in the village of Chelm, forgot the recipe for her mouth-watering, sizzling potato pancakes. Her husband, Shmuel, races over to the village rabbi for advice. But what does the rabbi know about making latkes? This ticklishly fun adventure, set in the fictional Old World town of Chelm – the source of enduring Jewish storytelling – will have kids laughing as they wonder how Faigel and Shmuel solve their problem. Aleksandar Zolotic’s large format, animation-style illustrations are perfectly paired for the lively story.

Little Red Ruthie:
A Hanukkah Tale

Gloria Koster; illustrated by

Sue Eastland; ages 4-8

This uplifting spin on “Little Red Riding Hood” features a spirited young girl named Ruthie setting off on the eve of Hanukkah to visit her bubbe, so they can cook up potato latkes for the holiday. In the snow-packed forest Ruthie, bundled up in a bright red hooded parka, meets a not overly menacing-looking wolf. Ruthie summons her courage and smarts as she recalls the brave Maccabee heroes of Hanukkah who fought for religious freedom for the Jews in ancient Israel. But will Ruthie’s clever schemes outsmart the hungry but foolish wolf, who has fun dressing up in bubbe’s colorful clothing?

Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas
Pamela Ehrenberg; illustrated
by Anjar Sarkar; ages 4-7

In this humor-filled tale, an endearing school-age boy in a multicultural Indian-Jewish family can hardly contain his enthusiasm for his family’s special Hanukkah celebration of making dosas, Indian fried pancakes made with lentils, called dal, and rice. But his younger sister, Sadie, who can’t resist her urge to climb on everything, may spoil the fun. Anjar Sarkar’s colorful, cartoon-like illustrations add giggles and put readers in on the action. Recipes for Dosas and Sambar, a vegetable based filling or dip for the dosas, are included.

The Missing Letters:
A Dreidel Story
Renee Londner; illustrated by
Iryna Bodnaruk; ages 4-9

Wooden dreidels come to life in this heartwarming page turner. On the eve of Hanukkah, in a dreidel maker’s shop, there are some bad feelings among the Hebrew letters painted on the four-sided spinning toy. The nun, hey and shin are jealous of the gimel, considered the favorite letter in the game of chance, and decide to hide all of them. Among Iryna Bodnaruk’s animated illustrations is a double-page spread that is like a puzzle; kids can follow clues to find where the gimels have been hidden.

Hanukkah Harvie vs. Santa Claus:
The Christmukkah Kerfuffle
David Michael Slater; illustrated by Michelle Simpson; ages

On the first night of Hanukkah, Hanukkah Harvie oils up his steampunk-like machinery to produce all the gifts he needs and climbs aboard his flying Hanukkopter to deliver eight nights of presents to children. Placing one family’s presents next to their Hanukkah menorah, Harvie bumps into a red-suited jolly Santa Claus piling gifts under their Christmas tree. Harvey and Santa go on to discover some other homes with both menorahs and Christmas trees and get into a rollicking present-giving competition. A young girl who spies them in action puts the quarreling pair to shame, and let’s them in on the joy of celebrating the two holidays happening at about the same time each year – thus the Christmukkah mashup.

For toddlers:
The Itsy Bitsy Dreidel
Jeffrey Burton and Chani Tornow; illustrated by Sanja Rescek

A delightful read-aloud board book for the youngest kids who will enjoy the playful rhymes as the lively little dreidel celebrates Hanukkah. This is the latest in the upbeat Itsy Bitsy board book series that includes the “Itsy Bitsy Pilgrim,” the “Itsy Bitsy Snow- man,” and others.

Grover’s Eight Nights of Light
Jodie Shepherd;
illustrated by Joe Mathieu

Young fans of Sesame Street enjoy a Hanukkah party at Grover’s house along with their favorite Sesame Street characters. The book features lighting the menorah, eating latkes and playing dreidel. Stickers, Hanukkah cards and a poster with a Hanukkah party game are included.

For teens:
Spies & Scholars
Yehudis Litvak

The historical fiction adventure is set during the reign of the Greek King Antiochus in ancient Israel where the Maccabees are fighting the Greeks. The 200-page teen read is geared to Orthodox Jewish teen readers and published by Jewish Children’s Book Club in conjunction with Torah Umesorah-National Society for Hebrew Day Schools.

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