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The Ninth Night of Hanukkah
Author: Erica Perl
Illustrator: Shahar Kober
Published September 15, 2020 by Sterling

Goodreads Summary: A heartwarming picture book with a fresh twist on a Hanukkah celebration: celebrating a ninth night with new neighbors and friends!

It’s Hanukkah, and Max and Rachel are excited to light the menorah in their family’s new apartment. But, unfortunately, their Hanukkah box is missing. So now they have no menorah, candles, dreidels, or, well, anything! Luckily, their neighbors are happy to help, offering thoughtful and often humorous stand-in items each night. And then, just as Hanukkah is about to end, Max and Rachel, inspired by the shamash (“helper”) candle, have a brilliant idea: they’re going to celebrate the Ninth Night of Hanukkah as a way to say thanks to everyone who’s helped them!

This book is not only a heartwarming and fun story, it’s also an invitation to join in a beautiful new Hanukkah tradition!

My Review: I adored this charming book that truly does encourage a new Hanukkah tradition. As someone who has searched and searched for candles in a city where there are very few Jewish families, I completely understood the panic that Max and Rachel were experiencing. They certainly triumph in this book, and they come out better because of it. I loved reading this book with my children, and when I looked at them, I noticed they were smiling as we read. This book is going to be a family favorite, and I especially love its message of gratitude.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book will make readers think creatively. It would be fun for readers to consider how they might add a twist to a family tradition. They could turn these into their own picture books!

Discussion Questions: 

  • How do Max and Rachel change in the story?
  • In what ways do they add a new twist to their family tradition?
  • How does this book teach us about community?
  • What are you grateful for? How might you share this with your family on a ninth night?

The Littlest Candle: A Hanukkah Story
Authors: Rabbis Kerry and Jesse Olitzky
Illustrator: Jen Kostman
Published September 1, 2020 by Kalaniot Books

Goodreads Summary: Little Flicker is always cheering his friends on with words of encouragement and support. But as the smallest candle in the box, why should he be chosen to be the shamash in the Hanukkah menorah? Isn’t the job of lighting all the others candles too big for him? As it turns out, it’s the size of your heart that matters, and in that department, Little Flicker is huge! This book’s bright and quirky illustrations make it easy to imagine the possibility of a world where candles walk, talk, dance, and sing. Kids will love exploring the details of Little Flicker’s life inside his cozy drawer.

My Review: I loved the way that the Little Flicker (the shamash) was personified in this book! Although this book is focused on Hanukkah, similarly to The Ninth Night of Hanukkah, it is about so much more. Little Flicker has a strong spirit, and kids will see this and recognize his strength. I felt like I wanted to fist pump while reading this book—it has so much heart. We received this book a couple of weeks ago, and my four year old has asked me to read it many times over, and every time, I think I love it more.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Little Flicker is small, but he has a lot of spirit to him. Teachers might ask students to think about and discuss a quality that others might perceive to be a flaw but which can act as a strength.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is the message of this book?
  • What did you learn about the meaning of Hanukkah?
  • How do the authors and illustrator use personification to strengthen the story?

Recommended For: 

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Happy Hanukkah to you and yours!!!

**Thank you to Casey at Media Masters Publicity for providing copies for review!**

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One Response to Two New Hanukkah Books You Must Read!: The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica Perl and illustrated by Shahar Kober & The Littlest Candle: A Hanukkah Story by Rabbis Kerry and Jesse Olitzky, Illustrated by Jen Kostman

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