NORTHERN LIGHTS: A Hanukkah Story by Diana Cohen Conway


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Who would believe that Hanukkah, The Feast of Lights, could be celebrated in a remote Yupik Eskimo village? Young Sara Israel is accompanying her father, a traveling doctor, on his rounds when weather conditions prevent them from returning home for Hanukkah. Sara stays with the Eskimo pilot's mother, Sarah, and his daughter, Norma, while her father and the pilot visit the village's clinic. Everything reminds Sara of Hanukkah: The street lights outside recall the Hanukkah lamp, the menorah; the fried bread, assaliaq, that her hostess prepares smells like Hanukkah latkes. Sara entertains grandmother and granddaughter by relating the story of Hanukkah, and though it must be translated into Yupik by Norma, the meaning of the holiday is made clear. Suddenly the old woman produces a stone oil lamp that had burned not olive oil, but seal oil. With this lamp Sara is able to chant the traditional blessing over the candles. With patience and imagination, young Sara is able to convey the importance of this holiday to her Yupik friends, overcoming language and cultural barriers. The magnificent blue-and-purple watercolors do not let us forget that we are in a frozen and isolated land, but newcomer Conway's story will warm the hearts of all her readers.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1994
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kar-Ben