Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Children's Book Review: Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah: With Light, Latkes, and Dreidels (Holidays Around the World)

Holidays Around the World:  Celebrate Hanukkah with Light, Latkes, and Dreidels
Written by:  Deborah Heiligman, Consultant:  Rabbi Shira Stern
Published by: National Geographic, 2006
32 pages

from goodreads.com:
In Celebrate Hanukkah Deborah Heiligman welcomes readers to a holiday celebrated by Jewish communities around the world.

The vivid photography of National Geographic illustrates the joyous celebrations of Jewish people around the world—including Ghana, Uganda, India, Israel, Peru, the United States and Poland, as they light menorahs, spin dreidels, and make latkes.

The richly informative back matter details many facts, such as the story of U.S. astronaut Jeffrey Hoffman, who brought a menorah and a dreidel on his Space Shuttle mission in 1993. Hoffman observed the traditional spinning of the dreidel, but wisely left the menorah unlit in the proximity of several thousand liters of rocket fuel! Also included are the author's sure-to-please latke recipe, Hanukkah blessings, and a Hanukkah song. 

A note from Rabbi Shira Stern, the book's consultant, sets the holiday in its global religious and cultural context.

* It is hard to find children's books that describe and explain holidays so that a 3 and 5 year old can understand them.  Although this book is geared toward 1st through 4th graders, I was pleasantly surprised to find this book understandable to my 5 year old daughter.  The text is short and simple, yet informative.  At the end of the book there are instructions on how to light the menorah and the prayers to say, a recipe for latkes, and instructions on playing the dreidel game. The photographs are beautiful and show how children in different parts of the celebrate Hannukah. There are also book and websites listed in the back if you want to find out more about the holiday.

Family Rating: 2 thumbs up.

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