, or the Festival of Lights, is an important holiday for those of the Jewish faith. Observed for eight days and nights, it is observed by the lighting of the menorah
. The lighting of the menorah symbolizes the miracle that occurred when the Jewish people won their religious freedom from the Syrians. They cleansed the temple but found they only had enough oil to burn for one night. Still, it burned for eight.
Today, families celebrate the holiday by giving gifts, eating special foods, singing songs and playing games.
A great way to teach your child about the history and traditions Hanukkah is to read books that explain the holiday in an easy-to-understand way, like the ones listed below.
DK Publishing, Inc.
If you are looking for a visual guide to Hanukkah, this book from U.K.-based DK Publishing will not disappoint. The colorful, detailed stickers deftly and simply explain every part of the holiday in a clear and concise way. Beautiful images include the menorah, foods eaten and other important parts of the festival of lights. Stickers are reusable -- great for teaching and recurring creative opportunities.
Sterling Children's Books
This entry in the Sparkling Stories series by Elizabeth Spurr tells the story of a family celebrating Hanukkah on a level that young children can appreciate. The rhyming text highlights all the parts of the holiday that appeal to preschoolers -- the lit menorah, the presents, the feast, the dreidel and even the chocolate coins. Thanks to foil on each page, the book literally sparkles, making it incredibly visually appealing to your little one.
Great for young preschoolers, this offering from David Martin and illustrator Melissa Sweet follows five children as they celebrate Hanukkah. From lighting candles, exchanging gifts and making shadow puppets, the book is simple, sweet and easy-to-follow. Illustrations are pleasing to look at and add a depth and detail to the story that older children will appreciate too.
Totally interactive, this book by Salina Yoon lets young readers place gold pieces of gelt (cardboard) in a variety of places -- into shields, latkes and a tzedekah
. As your child follows along and participates in all the activities she'll really feel as if she's part of the action and she'll know what to expect when your family does everything for real.
Blue Apple Books
This story from Seymour Chwast gives children the historical point of view of the holiday, telling them about how the Jewish people were opposed by the Syrian King, all the way through to the miracle of the menorah. The text and design are simple, but this serves to get the message and the story across in a straightforward manner. Definitely a family favorite for years to come.
Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
There is so much to do in preparation for Hanukkah as main character Rachel learns in this effort from Erica Silverman. But Rachel's most fun thing to do -- even more than lighting the candles, eating yummy food and playing games is dancing the Hanukkah Hop! This is a fun book that will be sure to get you out of your seat!
As children make their way through this book by Joan Holub, they get to observe some common Hanukkah traditions -- lighting candles, opening gifts, eating latkes and chocolate coins and playing games. As the pages are turned, another candle is lit on the menorah. The book is colorful and fun to look at and one that does a good job of teaching the traditions of the holiday while sharing in its joy.