The Kids Are All Right

Hanukkah Children’s Books And Activities!

Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! It’s been unseasonably warm and rainy here in Nashville, and while I won’t say no to warm weather, I’m tired of being cooped up inside because of rain. Thankfully, the rain held off for my daughter’s fifth birthday party, her first big party with friends. We had it at a playground, and everyone had a blast. I am not a party planner, so I’m glad it went well!

This week I share some of my favorite Hanukkah children’s books. While I’m not Jewish, I know it’s important to introduce my daughter to other cultures.

Quick announcement first: Read Harder is back! Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge is in its ninth year, with a set of 24 tasks that invite readers to expand their worldview through books. Read one book per task, or do some multi-tasking by counting one book for multiple tasks. It’s all fine! The point of the challenge is to push yourself to expand your horizons. Thank you to Thriftbooks for sponsoring Read Harder 2023.

To find the tasks and subscribe to our newsletter for tips and recommendations, visit Read Harder 2023. I’ve completed the last three or four challenges, and it’s been a fun way to diversify my reading!

Bookish Goods

Hanukkah menorah book folding pattern by BentBooksBoutique

Hanukkah Menora – Book Folding Pattern by BentBooksBoutique

If you make this, please email me with pictures (email address at the end)! I would love to see if this actually works, ha! It might be a good project to work on with preteens. $5

New Releases

The Story of Ukraine by Kharchenko

The Story of Ukraine by Olena Kharchenko and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Polina Doroshenko (picture book)

With the heartbreaking war and invasion happening in Ukraine, many kids are hearing about Ukraine far more than before. This picture book takes the Ukrainian national anthem line by line, providing a historical and cultural context to the anthem. It’s written in both English and Ukrainian. While most of the book doesn’t specifically address war, there are a couple of unsettling areas. For instance, one line in the anthem states, “Our enemies will die like dew in the sun.” I’d be prepared with some further context for younger readers about war in those sections.

Cover of The Universe in You by Jason Chin

The Universe in You by Jason Chin (picture book)

Jason Chin’s illustrations are always stunning (he won the Caldecott Award for Watercress last year), and his newest STEM picture book is no exception. While Your Place in the Universe went big, The Universe in You looks at the microscopic particles that make up life. It’s a beautiful, informative book, and I love that it centers a young Brown girl who uses a wheelchair.

For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!

Riot Recommendations

Hanukkah begins in less than a week, so I thought I would share some of my favorite Hanukkah children’s books.

Cover of Ava's Homemade Hanukkah by Woberg

Ava’s Homemade Hanukkah by Geraldine Woberg, illustrated by Julia Seal (picture book)

In this sweet picture book, Ava makes a special menorah for the eighth day of Hanukkah and learns about the significance behind her other family member’s menorahs. Her family has a tradition of each member bringing their own menorah to the last day of celebrating. This is a great way to inspire readers to make their own menorah, and you better believe my crafty child insisted we make one immediately upon finishing the book!

Cover of Baby Loves Angular Momentum on Hanukkah by Spiro

Baby Loves Angular Momentum on Hannukah! by Ruth Spiro, illustrated by Irene Chan (board book)

In this delightful STEM board book and part of a larger series, a baby plays dreidel and learns how angular momentum works. This entire series is a fantastic way to learn science concepts, and I love that the newer books also have holiday connections. I had a proud Mama moment this past weekend involving this book. My daughter wanted to make a dreidel, and after we finished, she wanted to play the game. She went to one of her bookshelves, found this book, brought it back, and then opened it up to the page where it explains how to play for reference. Then she taught me how to do it. Yay for reference skills! (I hope no one minds all my personal stories, because that tends to be how I connect with books!)

Cover of Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights by Bader

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights by Bonnie Bader, illustrated by Joanie Stone (picture book)

What I like best about this picture book is its explanation of why Hanukkah is celebrated and its description of the Maccabees and the destruction of their temple. It features a contemporary Jewish family, and a preschool-aged girl’s questions about the holiday. The illustrations are vibrant, and the prose is simple yet informative.

Cover of Hanukkah in Little Havana by Blank

Hanukkah in Little Havana by Julie Anna Blank, illustrated by Carlos Vélez Aguilera (picture book)

Every December the children in this picture book receive a crate of oranges from their Nonna and Nonno in Florida, but this year, instead of the oranges coming to them, they’re going to the oranges, and to their grandparents’ house. From making almendrikas to picking oranges to racing on the beach, the family has so much fun celebrating Hanukkah in Miami with their grandparents. This lovely, vibrantly illustrated book depicts Sephardic Jewish traditions.

Homemade dreidel, the kids are all right

I mentioned earlier that my child made her own dreidel over the weekend. She wanted it to be a heart dreidel, so she colored some hearts, then glued it to the back of some thin cardboard (a cereal box would work), using this dreidel template. We ran out of glue (of course) so we ended up using massive amounts of tape, lol. But it worked!

If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is

Until next Tuesday!

Margaret Kingsbury