A thoughtful exhortation to have “the light of freedom always burn brightly in our homes and in our hearts.” (Picture...

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LIGHT THE MENORAH!

A HANUKKAH HANDBOOK

A handbook to help families make Hanukkah—the Jewish Festival of Lights—even more meaningful.

Candles are lit for each night of Hanukkah, starting with one for the first night and finishing with eight for the eighth night. Jules offers eight free-verse poems and eight reflections that combine a history of the holiday with moral teachings that can be followed by those of any or no specific faith. Readers are urged to “brighten the darkness,” to “add our light,” to “appreciate each flickering moment,” and to live with tolerance for all peoples. There is also a retelling of the origins of Hanukkah, factoids (including how many candles are needed in all: 44), and mention of two women associated with the festival. Directions are provided for playing with a dreidel, words and music for two songs, recipes for potato latkes and jelly doughnuts, and simple crafts made from household objects. The illustrations depict a white, observant family and pages filled with flickering lights and stars against a blue background. Other pages show a diverse array of children playing games as well as images of the Holy Land at the time of the first Hanukkah. Caregivers and teachers looking for a general introduction to a plane of higher principles may find this helpful.

A thoughtful exhortation to have “the light of freedom always burn brightly in our homes and in our hearts.” (Picture book/religion. 5-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5124-8368-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution.

NIGHT LIGHTS

A SUKKOT STORY

On the first night of Sukkot, Daniel is apprehensive about sleeping in the dark sukkah without a night light.

Older sister Naomi likes to show off her knowledge acquired in Hebrew school, so she tells Daniel all about the holiday. She explains how Jews remember the ancestors’ journey from Egypt, why the sukkah is built, and the reason for an open roof made of tree branches. Once the building and decorating of their sukkah is finished, Daniel’s quiet anxiety parallels Naomi’s eager excitement through the family’s outdoor dinner. At bedtime, the siblings create a makeshift sleeping area in a corner of the sukkah. In the dark, scary nighttime noises and shadowy images disturb Daniel to the point where he begins to go inside. But to his surprise, Naomi, who has a touch of the heebie-jeebies herself, encourages him to stay and look up through the branches of the sukkah’s open roof. He sees a sky full of stars, or “night lights,” as they glowed for the ancestors thousands of years ago. Soft paintings provide a contemporary view of a White Jewish family with some parallel historical scenes of the forbearers making their way through the desert. The interwoven explanation of the holiday within the context of the story is enhanced with an afterword that references today’s refugees, who must live under precarious circumstances in temporary shelters.

A child’s fear is sweetly tempered by the support of an older sister’s comforting, natural solution. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68115-547-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Apples & Honey Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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This will serve well in both religious and nonreligious settings for fall curriculum support.

CELEBRATING HARVEST

The annual harvest from farm to table is explored with a religious perspective, focusing on Christian harvest traditions and the Jewish celebration of Sukkot.

Crisp color photography highlights children in scenes of farming and the harvesting of fruits and vegetables. The book features several instructive points about the variety of produce available, the harvest concept and sharing. Finally, it covers two different yet corresponding religious ways to observe the harvest and thank God. Church-based harvest festivals are illustrated by the decorating of a church with various breads, wheat stalks and baskets of food. Sukkot is shown with the building and decorating of a Sukkah and how this symbol of a shelter or hut relates to the ancient Jewish celebration. An informative and eye-catching design on glossy paper offers a large, multicolored print, the majority of text blocks in black against soft pale backgrounds, with key words in bold blue; these are repeated in a vocabulary border at the bottom of each page. The text is largely framed in questions, encouraging personal response and discussion. The simplicity and functionality of the book’s premise is enhanced with an addendum of teaching suggestions for specific pages and more detailed background information about the concepts presented.

This will serve well in both religious and nonreligious settings for fall curriculum support. (websites, index) (Informational picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: May 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-237-54373-0

Page Count: 26

Publisher: Evans/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2014

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