The world says stories are meant to help you sleep.
But I say; stories are meant to wake you up.*
As a homeschool mom I remember well that glazed look that would tell me I had lost the attention of my daughter. But when I would say, “Let me tell you a story” or “Lets read a story,” my daughter’s eyes would blink into focus. The power of a good story!
A good story should wake you up. We see that ‘waking up’ over and over again in the stories told by a master storyteller found in the Brit Chadashah, Yeshua. He knew well the art of clothing a message of truth in a story and engaging the hearts of His listeners.
Though maybe not of that caliber, we do hope that our 2015 recommended Hanukkah reads will engage your hearts and minds. Hopefully you and yours will have precious moments of laughter, hugs to your hearts, inspiration, and even a few A-ha’s.
So, gather your children and grands close and be prepared to be woken up.
The Ziz – a giant bird from Jewish folklore – learns the truth of how sharing your light doesn’t cause your light to decrease but increases it’s intensity.
Fun and whimsical illustrations.
Purchase from Amazon.com – The Ziz and the Hanukkah Miracle
2. LETTER ON THE WIND
A CHANUKAH TALE
by Sarah Marwill Lamstein
illustrated by Neil Walman
This is a story of two men of faith. Hayim, a poor man who sends a letter ‘on the wind’ to G-d asking Him to send oil for his village. Drought has withered the olives and there is no oil for the Hanukkah lamps. The second is of Ger Yehudah, a rich merchant who receives the letter as from G-d.
A beautiful retelling of a Middle East folktale about the mysterious workings of G-d.
A story of faith and charity illustrated with warm and moving watercolor illustrations.
Purchase from amazon.com Letter on the Wind
I know an old lady who swallowed a dreidel,
A Chanukah dreidel she thought was a bagel…
Oy’vey! What happens when Bubbe swallows a misplaced dreidel? A fun, frolicking read.
If you are a art history buff you will throughly enjoy the illustrations which are parodies of classic works of art.
Purchase from amazon.com I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Dreidel
A truly sweet and precious read about Lenny and the shivering orange kitten he finds at his window on the first night of Hanukkah. Lenny begs his parents to let him keep ‘Hanukkah Cat’ but his parents tell him that cats get into all kinds of mischief so Hanukkah Cat can only stay for the eight days of Hanukkah
Weaving in the customs and the story of Hanukkah, each day ends with the lighting of another Hanukkah candle.
Purchase from amazon.com Hanukkah Cat
5. ONE YELLOW DAFFODIL
by David A Adler
illustrated by Lloyd Bloom
This gentle read is the story of Morris a Holocaust survivor who with the help of two children is able to once again celebrate Hanukkah and to remember.
Author David Adler based this story on interviews he did with Holocaust survivors.
Illustrator Lloyd Bloom does a remarkable job of conveying in each drawing the grief and loneliness of Morris but also the comfort and pleasure he finds in new friends.
Both the words and illustrations will leave a lasting impression on your heart.
Purchase from amazon.com One Yellow Daffodil: A Hanukkah Story
6. IN THE MONTH OF KISLEV
by Nina Jaffe
illustrated by Louise August
A story from oral tradition, In The Month of Kislev tells the story of a rich lumber merchant who brings charges against three hungry children who he accuses of stealing the smells of his latkes. The towns kind and wise Rabbi teaches this rich merchant that there is more to Hanukkah than he thought.
Illustrated with rich, vivid woodcut illustrations.
Purchase from amazon.com In the Month of Kislev (Viking Kestrel picture books)
7. A GREAT MIRACLE HAPPENED THERE
by Karla Kuskin
illustrated by Robert Andrew Parker
A beautiful retelling of the Maccabees – illustrated with expressive watercolors.
Purchase from amazon.com A Great Miracle Happened There: A Chanukah Story by Kuskin, Karla (1993) Hardcover
8. ALL THE LIGHTS IN THE NIGHT
by Arthur A. Levine
illustrated by James E. Ransome
On the eve of Hanukkah Moses and Benjamin, two brothers, set out on the long dangerous journey to Israel to escape pogroms. Traveling by foot, train, and horse cart, they carry with them a old battered lamp and enough oil for one night. They keep up their spirits by telling the stories of the Maccabees and as they light the menorah they hope for another Hanukkah miracle.
A story of brotherly love and enduring faith, All The Lights In The Night is based on the true story of how Mr. Levine’s own grandfather and great uncle escaped from the shtetl of Drahitchen in 1914.
Purchase from amazon.com All the Lights in the Night
Beautiful and intense illustrations.
* Rebbe Nachman of Breslov