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Celebrate Hanukkah

With Lights, Latkes, and Dreidels

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Cover art of children's Hanukkah book Celebrate Hanukkah with Light, Latkes, and Dreidels

Celebrate Hanukkah, National Geographic Holidays Around the World

National Geographic Society
Celebrate Hanukkah is part of the excellent Holidays Around the World series, which introduces children to religious and cultural holidays around the world. The nonfiction series, published by the National Geographic Society, is intended for children in grades 1-4, although I've found that the format of the books makes them appealing to a broader range of ages.

Celebrate Hanukkah: What It's About

The book's picture book format, with illustrations on every page, is very effective. Throughout the book, eye-catching photographs show Jewish children all over the world, as they prepare for and celebrate Hanukkah. Author Deborah Heiligman provides interesting information about the history, meaning, symbols, and celebration of Hanukkah while the photographs provide a fascinating look at Hanukkah as it is celebrated in the United States, Canada, Peru, Poland, Italy, Israel, India, Ghana, and Uganda.

Celebrate Hanukkah: The Author

The author of Celebrate Hanukkah is Deborah Heiligman, who was assisted by consultant Rabbi Shira Stern. Deborah Heiligman has written a number of other books in the Holidays Around the World series, including: Celebrate Halloween with Pumpkins, Costumes and Candy, Celebrate Independence Day with Parades, Picnics and Fireworks, Celebrate Easter with Colored Eggs, Flower and Prayer and Celebrate Passover with Matzah, Maror and Memories.

Deborah Heiligman is also the author of Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith, about the marriage of Charles and Emma Darwin. The book was honored with the first YALSA Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults Award in 2010 and as a Michael L. Printz Honor Book.

The photographs in the book, which are all excellent, come from more than a dozen different sources.

Celebrate Hanukkah: Additional Resources

There is a great deal of information packed into this 32-page book. In addition to all of the general information about how Hanukkah is celebrated around the world, at the end of the book, there are six pages of more specific Hanukkah information. It includes a summary of basic facts about Hanukkah, directions for lighting a menorah, a detailed recipe for potato latkes, the history of Dreidel and instructions for playing Dreidel, a bibliography of related books and Web sites, a map showing where all of the photos in the book were taken, and an essay by Rabbi Shira Stern, "Hanukkah: Its Meaning and Message".

Celebrate Hanukkah: My Recommendation

Despite the fact that the book targets children in grades 1-4, I would recommend it for all ages. Younger children will enjoy the photographs; older children will also learn a lot. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or just want your children to learn about a variety of religious and cultural holidays, I recommend Celebrate Hanukkah and the other books in the Holidays Around the World series. (National Geographic Society, 2006. ISBN: 9780792259244)

More Hanukkah Books and Other Resources

For more good Hanukkah books for children, see my review of Hanukkah Haiku, my annotated list of the Best Children's Books About Hanukkah and Hanukkah Books for Toddlers and Young Children from Ariela Pelaia, About.com Guide to Judaism.

For recipes for Hanukkah meals, see these 10 Hanukkah Recipes from Giora Shimoni, About.com Guide to Kosher Food. They include recipes for Hannukah brisket, cookies and doughnuts, as well as several recipes for latkes. Sherri Osborn, About.com to Family Crafts, recommends these Hanukkah Crafts and Activities. Ariela Pelaia, About.com Guide to Judaism shares information on the Hannukah dreidel and in her article Hannukah Traditions for Kids provides tips on celebrating Hanukkah with children.

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