Hanukkah Books for Kids
It is nearly time for Hanukkah! Although not one of the major Jewish holidays, it is still a magical time that commemorates a miracle that took place long ago. These Hanukkah books for kids are written for Jewish and non-Jewish children alike, celebrating and explaining major aspects of the holiday. The books included below are mostly fiction, along with two non-fiction books, though even the storybooks often include explanatory material at the end. This list includes books that are silly and fun along with those that are (a bit) more serious, but all are joyful, helping the next generation understand the roots of this holiday and the various ways it is celebrated today.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of some of the books below; however, all opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Hanukkah Books for Kids
Enjoy these wonderful Hanukkah books for kids!
Hello, Hanukkah! is a sweet board book that teaches numbers and colors. We count along with Badger as he lights the each (differently colored) candle on the menorah. We also get to see Badger participate in other Hanukkah traditions, such as playing dreidel and singing Hanukkah songs. A cute introduction to Hanukkah for very young readers.
Five Little Dreidels is simply adorable. It is a fun Hanukkah version of “Five Little Monkeys.” Instead of jumping on the bed, these naughty dreidels spin themselves dizzy. The colorful illustrations showcase in the background various aspects of Hanukkah, such as the menorah and latkes, though these are not explicitly named in the text. A cute book kids will love!
Let’s Celebrate Hanukkah, Dear Dragon! is an early emergent reader, for kids who are just starting to learn to read. In simple, spare text, a young boy teaches Dragon about Hanukkah traditions, like lighting the menorah. Part of a series of books for early emergent readers adapted from the Dear Dragon books by Margaret Hillert.
The Three Latkes asks the age old question, What is the best way to cook latkes? Namely, which kind of potatoes should you use, and which type of oil is best? Three latkes disagree on both questions, each arguing that they are the best latkes of them all. When they can’t agree, they ask the cat to decide. The clever cat solves the problem with the only logical solution a hungry cat could come up with – she eats them! So which latke was the best? We may never know, because the cat won’t say. A fun book with an important message: however you make them, latkes are delicious!
The Hanukkah Hunt is part of the Ruby Celebrates! series, featuring various Jewish holidays, like Purim and Rosh Hashanah. In The Hanukkah Hunt, Ruby creates a Hanukkah-themed scavenger hunt to cheer up her cousin, whose mom has to be away over Hanukkah. Thanks to Ruby’s hard work – and a very special surprise at the end – Ruby helps her cousin have a wonderful holiday and receives her own special surprise on the final night.
Ava’s Homemade Hanukkah is a wonderful picture book about the power of art to build connections and share our stories. Ava wants to make her own menorah, just like the rest of her family members have done, but she isn’t sure how to make her menorah as special as the others. One by one she examines the other menorahs, learning the meaning behind each one. Through these very personal Hanukkah stories, Ava begins to appreciate the importance of her own story and ultimately discovers how to honor it through creating her own unique menorah. Lovely story that includes diverse characters and family structures.
We first learned about The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol from the virtual Multicultural Children’s Book Club from Walking in Other People’s Shoes, where the author himself came to share and discuss about the book! He explained that this book is his contribution to myth-making around the holiday. What if Hanukkah had a helper like Santa Claus – and what if he and Santa were friends? This book imagines the character of Nate Gadol, who helps spread holiday cheer by making sure every Jewish family has enough latkes and chocolate to celebrate Hanukkah. A delightful new folktale that children will love. If possible, read from a print copy, so you can fully appreciate the wonderful illustrations, complete with gold sparkles everywhere Nate spreads his magic.
Latkes and Applesauce is an older book, but one that has recently gotten a makeover with new, more modern illustrations. It has the feel of a folktale, as a family struggles to make their food last through a long blizzard. Gone are their hopes of making Hanukkah treats, as their food supplies dwindle with each passing day. Yet despite their own lack of food, when a stray cat and dog appear, the family takes them in and shares what little it has. That generosity comes back to them, as the animals later help the family with their own miracle of sorts, finding the supplies needed to make Hanukkah latkes and applesauce. A beautiful story about the power of kindness.
Celebrating Hanukkah is a lovely non-fiction introduction to Hanukkah for early elementary age children. The amount of text on each page isn’t overwhelming, but even so it shares relatively detailed information about Hanukkah, including fun facts I had never read before. For example, did you know that playing dreidels was originally a way for Jews under Greek rule to hide the fact that they were still studying their religious texts, even though it was against the law? A great book for kids who are ready for a more in-depth understanding of Hanukkah and its customs.
Finally, I’m sharing a beautiful book that celebrates Hanukkah and other Jewish holidays. The gorgeously illustrated Here Is the World: A Year of Jewish Holidays takes us through the rhythms of the Jewish calendar, from a child’s naming ceremony and Shabbat to the seasonal holidays. The rhyming text is easy for younger children to follow, highlighting the important characteristics of each holiday, such as lighting the menorah for Hanukkah. The warmth of the family and community leaps off the page, bringing the reader into its embrace. The book includes more detailed explanations at the back, plus simple but meaningful crafts and activities for each holiday, such as a latke recipe for Hanukkah. A must have for anyone wishing to share the joy of Jewish holidays with children.
What are your favorite Hanukkah books for kids?
Children’s Books About the True Holiday Spirit (includes several Hanukkah books)