Celebrate Hanukkah, by Deborah Helligman
National Geographic; October 2006; 32 pp.; $15.95 HC
Core Audience: Children ages 4-8
Strengths: Excellent information, beautiful photography, great resource section
There are many books about Hanukkah on the market, but you will not find another one that does such a beautiful job of conveying the incredible diversity and richness of this celebration by people all over the world. Full of spectacular full-bleed photography and an elegant typographic design, this book is an excellent introduction for all children to the celebration of Hanukkah.
Deborah Helligman’s accessible text does a great job of highlighting the key ideas of the celebration, from the rituals, to the food, the games, and the stories. The beautiful photography draws readers in, and conveys a wonderful sense of energy and excitement. At the back of the book, there are great resources, including facts about the holiday, a recipe for making latkes, information about lighting the menorah and playing dreidel, as well as maps, websites, a glossary, and notes on the meaning and message of Hanukkah by Rabbi Shira Stern, who consulted on the book.
As good as contents of the book are, (and they are very good), what makes the book exceptional is the amazing photography and thoughtful design. Showing people and celebrations in Uganda, Peru, India, Ghana, Israel, America, Poland, and Italy, this book goes beyond the holiday to show the incredible diversity of Judaism around the world. At a time when our world is in need of a little understanding about cultures and practices different than our own, this book delivers the goods. Amen.
This book is part of National Geographic’s excellent Holidays Around the World Series, which also has books on Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, Thanksgiving, and Diwali.