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HANUKKAH MOON by Deborah da Costa


by Deborah da Costa & illustrated by Gosia Mosz

Age Range: 5 - 8

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-58013-244-2
Publisher: Kar-Ben

This Hanukkah, Isobel stays with her Mexican Aunt Luisa and discovers a new way to celebrate the festival of the lights. In addition to lighting the hanukkiah (menorah) and eating the traditional latkes and jelly doughnuts, she learns some of the Sephardic or Spanish Jewish customs for the holiday. Aunt Luisa teaches Isobel to say “Feliz Januca” and to sing the dreidel song in Spanish. When Aunt Luisa’s three girlfriends arrive, it is the promise of celebrating the Hanukkah moon with the breaking of a dreidel-shaped piñata that intrigues Isobel. Together they combine the welcoming of Rosh Hodesh, the first day of the new month, with the appearance of “la luna nueve” (the new moon). Rosh Hodesh is traditionally celebrated by girls and women each month, and the new moon that appears during the Hanukkah week is especially commemorated by Jews in Latin America. Mosz’s whimsical Chagall-style paintings of elongated figures with large expressive almond-shaped eyes in combinations of purple and gold hues add a Latino flavor to this gentle and warmhearted story offering a new perspective on an age-old Jewish holiday. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)