A Mighty Girl's favorite Hanukkah stories starring Mighty Girls!
This year, Hanukkah, the winter Festival of Lights, begins on December 18. To help you celebrate the miracle of eight days of light, we're sharing our favorite Hanukkah books starring Mighty Girls. These books celebrate this special holiday and how it brings families together for eight special nights every winter. Full of joy, fun, and the importance of family tradition, these stories are a perfect way to remember this special holiday.
You can also learn about our favorite books celebrating Christmas in our blog post, Christmas is Coming: Mighty Girl Christmas Stories.
Hanukkah Stories Starring Mighty Girls
Baby wants to spin the dreidel but where is it? As baby hunts — and your little one lifts the flaps in this colorful board book — she spots gelt, the menorah, presents, and even latkes. Where will she finally find her dreidel, though? This simple book, full of Katz's distinctive colorful, appealing illustrations, is perfect for introducing very young child to the traditions of Hanukkah.
Everyone is excited on the night before the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah begins! Follow one little girl and her brother as they enjoy lighting the candles during special time together each night. Delicious food like latkes and special games like dreidel make the eight days of Hanukkah an extra treat for both the adults and children of this family. Jewish families will particularly appreciate the care devoted to ensuring all symbols and traditions are described and illustrated correctly, even while Wing and Wummer depict a thoroughly modern family's holiday.
"Is it Hanukkah yet?" / "Not yet. We have to wait for the sun to set!" While this little girl waits for her favorite holiday, her Grandma helps her pass the time. They find the girl's favorite menorah, and she plans how she will put the first night's candle in, then light it with the helper candle. Kids will learn about — or recognize! — other favorite songs, games, and traditions, too, and learn the significance of the Festival of Lights. This Step 2 Step Into Reading book, perfect for newly independent readers, including a guide to pronouncing terms like dreidel, latkes, and miracle, and a relatable story that will remind kids that holidays are all the sweeter for the anticipation!
Sadie and her four brothers are poor and hungry, but Sadie has never forgotten the importance of giving to others, even in their desperate situation. On the first day of Hanukkah, Sadie is rewarded for a generous act — with a magic frying pan. With a few words, Sadie can make as many latkes as the family could ever want! But Sadie’s mischievous brother’s can’t resist trying it out for themselves when she goes out — and discover that, while they can get the pan to start cooking, they don’t know how to make it stop! Cheerful illustrations depict a traditional Russian village, and Howland includes a recipe for Sadie’s latkes at the end of the book so you can enjoy your own feast at home.
Hanukkah seems like it's going to be a disappointment to this little girl — or is it? She's dreaming of a new pet, but it doesn't seem like her hopes will be fulfilled. Every night, she gets another odd gift: a thermometer, a ceramic bowl... Meanwhile, Grandma looks like she's getting parts of something too: cinnamon sticks, chocolate, candied cranberries. It's a puzzle until the eighth night, when Grandma gets everything to make cranberry chocolate chip kugel — and the little girl gets a pet iguana, who she names after her new favorite treat! This charming story with a touch of suspense includes a recipe to try your own kugel at home.
Bubba Brayna is 97 years old, and while she has some trouble hearing and seeing, she's still more than capable of putting on a wonderful Hanukkah meal. But when she makes her famous latkes, the best in the village, the delicious smell wakes up a very hungry bear — that Bubba Brayna mistakes for her rabbi! Hilarity ensues as Bubba Brayna tries to convince the bear to take off his coat — and as the opportunistic bear happily eats all the latkes. Fortunately, once the mistake is discovered, everyone works together to ensure that everyone can join in the feast. This warm, fun story is sure to get kids giggling.
When Sara sees an old man taking free bruised fruit from her local supermarket, her grandmother explains that he's probably poor and willing to eat around the bad spots to get something to eat. She also tells Sara about tzedakah, or acts of charity, and Sara realizes that her family could help: with her mother and grandmother, they start leaving their own offerings for him, from his own menorah to cookies with sprinkles. And when they get to know him, they realize that he has his own gifts to share! This charming story is perfect for talking about the importance of helping people in our community, both at Hanukkah and all year round.
The Monday before Hanukkah, Sadie’s teacher gives each of the children clay to make their own menorah. Over the whole week, Sadie carefully shapes and paints her menorah until it's absolutely perfect. But when she gets home and runs to show her mother, she trips and the marvelous menorah shatters on the floor. Sadie is heartbroken until her mother points out that the part to hold the shammash, the “helper” candle that lights all the others, is intact. Now named “Sadie’s Super Shammash”, Sadie’s creation will still get to be part of a special holiday tradition! This fun holiday story is also an excellent lesson in handling adversity.
Rachel is tired of being different from all her friends, and decides that this year, she's going to celebrate Christmas — with or without the help of her Jewish family. But despite writing a letter to Santa, and even visiting him at the mall, he never shows up. Poor Rachel isn't even sure she'll be able to enjoy her family's annual dinner at a Chinese restaurant... until she realizes there are plenty of her peers who don't celebrate Christmas and that your unique cultural identity is something that should make you proud. This heartfelt and funny story is an excellent way to share the many different ways cultures celebrate their holidays.
It was a chilly winter in the northern woods, but Ruthie doesn't mind. Dressed in her favorite puffy red coat, she is going to spend Hanukkah with her grandmother, who lives on the other side of the forest. Ruthie is bringing sour cream and applesauce to go along with the yummy latkes. She carefully packs her basket and kisses her mother good-bye. When snow begins to fall, however, Ruthie is soon lost in a thicket, and realizes that she's not alone. When she comes face to face with a wolf, she'll have to convince the wolf that eating latkes will be tastier than eating her!
Every person in Ava's family brings their own menorah to a special gathering on the eighth night — and this year, Ava is going to make her own! For inspiration, she talks to each of her family members about the meanings behind their menorahs, from the one her mother received for her first Hanukkah away from home, which helped her feel less alone, to the menorah Aunt Tamar found in her great-great-grandfather's belongings after marrying Aunt Rachel, helping her feel more connected to her wife's family traditions. Ava realizes that "Hanukkah menorahs can't talk, but they can help tell our stories" — and that helps her make the perfect menorah to tell her own story. This charming picture book highlights different aspects of contemporary Jewish life and encourages kids to think of the creative ways they can celebrate the holidays.
Hanukkah in Alaska is a bit different than anywhere else — especially when there's a hungry moose that's threatening the tree with your favorite swing! The little girl in this story tries everything she can think of to lure the moose away: apples, carrots, even cookies. It's not until the last night of Hanukkah, as she and her father watch the aurora borealis, that she discovers the trick... it turns out that even moose like latkes! This charming story includes an author's note with information about Hanukkah traditions and Alaskan wildlife.
Of course, many families celebrate more than one winter holiday! Holidays at Sadie’s house mean Hanukkah gelt coins under a Christmas tree, latkes by the fireplace for Santa, and other mixes of Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. The book avoids discussing the religious meaning of the two holidays, instead focusing on celebrating how diverse families can make sure that everyone gets to enjoy cherished traditions. The book includes a recipe for a cranberry kugel dressing, and a timeline of Christian, Jewish, and secular holidays throughout the year. Sadie’s story is a great celebration of diverse families and their holidays.
Mindy and her family are tiny — so little they can live hidden behind the wall of the Eldridge Street Synagogue — but they too look forward to a Hanukkah celebration of warmth and light. when Mindy’s father sprains his ankle just before the holiday, the family wonders if they can have their festivities this year. If the family is going to have a candle for Hanukkah, Mindy will have to bring it back herself, braving an excursion into the open — and an encounter with a very large cat! This playful story also introduces children to many characters, stories, and symbols of Judaism.
It's the last night of Hanukkah, and more relatives are coming than originally planned. Rachel decides to borrow potatoes from Mrs. Greenberg. She asks Mrs. Greenberg, who is all alone, to come for Hanukkah but, as always, she declines. But, when the guest list continues to grow, Rachel has an idea — if Mrs. Greenberg won't come to their house to celebrate, maybe they will just have to bring the party to her!
Lucy Latke and her family are preparing to celebrate Hanukkah together! (Eating sufganiyot, not latkes, naturally.) But when Grandpa Latke starts telling the Hanukkah story, he gets things a little wrong... the Maccabees become Mega Bees, who fight the "alien potatoes" instead of Antiochus using a giant dreidel like a Trojan horse! Fortunately, the Latke family dog, Applesauce, is there to set the record straight. With a laugh-out-loud premise and plenty of clever misinterpretations of the actual Hanukkah story, this silly picture book is a goofy way to highlight Hanukkah traditions — and it's sure to leave you craving latkes.
How can you enjoy a holiday when your neighbors aren’t enjoying theirs? Trisha’s family is the only Jewish household in the area, so they prepare for Hanukkah alone. But when Trisha stops by her closest neighbor’s house for a visit, she finds her friends sick with scarlet fever. Hanukkah doesn’t feel so bright when their neighbors can’t celebrate Christmas... that is, until Trisha and her Grampa have an idea on how to spread the holiday cheer. This touching story of compassion and generosity reminds readers of the importance of kindness to everyone around you.
"On a block dressed up in Red and Green one house shone Blue and White." Teresa and her friend Isaac sometimes seem very different: she loves to draw while he loves to write; her family celebrates Christmas, while his celebrate Hanukkah. But they both love playing in the snow, making cookies, and counting down to the holidays! When someone smashes Isaac's window in the middle of the night, though, his family no longer feels safe. Teresa wants to show her friend that she supports him, so she draws a menorah and puts the picture up in her window. And soon, other pictures pop up all over — in houses, stores, restaurants, and more! Based on a true story, this is an inspiring tale of a community working as one to remind everyone that we are stronger together.
Hanukkah is a time of celebration, but for the family in this story, it’s also the time for a solemn — but triumphant — memory. Among the brisket and latkes, on a table with fine linens and china, Grandma places a single raw potato and recounts the story of how she, as a 12-year-old girl in Buchenwald concentration camp, used a precious piece of food to celebrate the holiday in secret. This gentle story reminds children that the past contains both tragedies and triumphs, and that the values of tradition and family ensure that there will always be hope for the future.
Pinky Bloom, kid detective, is excited for this year's Hanukkah celebrations in her Brooklyn neighborhood — until there's a theft from her synagogue. Someone has take a very valuable ancient Israeli coin! While she's determined to catch the thief, there are other strange things happening around her... which may be connected to a supposedly magical menorah that their neighbor left in her family's care. It will take all of Pinky's cleverness and determination (and some help from her annoying little brother Avi) to crack this case! This appealing early chapter book mystery, with fun illustrations and details about Jewish traditions seamlessly woven into the story, is a fun way to get kids excited for the holiday.