There is nothing like the holiday season for connecting and reconnecting us to all kinds of traditions. I wrote a review of our Christmas book collection recently, and for part two, want to share some of the books I read with my daughter about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, with many thanks to our school and public libraries.

The first books we read set the stage, giving us the necessary historical background. We started with a book about Celebrations – it nicely tied all the winter celebrations together, highlighting the overall similarities. I would admit that the library’s copy was from 1997. The clothing choices in particular stood out to my daughter as very outdated.

Then we read the histories of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.



We found two wonderful books about Hanukkah written as poem collections.


We liked this book that remind us that the holidays celebrated this time of year are celebrations for all sorts of reasons, and that we should all take time to enjoy with friends and families.

Books with a larger message

But for every party, there is some one who is missing, and the holidays are times to remember our loved ones who can not share in the joyful season.


A similarity shared between all holidays is the meaningful symbols that help tell the holiday’s origin story. We learned about the deeper meaning from these two books, although we had no luck with picking up Yiddish from a counting book.

Storyteller and CLiF presenter Simon Brooks also put together a list of recommended titles. Here is his:

The Story of Hanukkah, by David Adler
Oscar and the Eight Blessings, by Richard Simon
Hanukkah Moon, by Deborah da Costa
Maccaabee! The Story of Hanukkah, by Tilda Balsley
Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Trina Schart-  Hyman “who is my fave illustrator. Brilliant. About a man who stays in a chapel/synagogue and saves it from, you guessed it – GOBLINS! – Spoiler, he survives the night!
Another great Eric Kimmel book is Ziga Zak! Again about Goblins, but the Rabbi turns a disaster into a great Hanukkah”
We both had a harder time tracking down Kwanzaa books, but he found these two:
Biscuit’s Kwanzaa, by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
Imani’s Gift at Kwanzaa, by Denise Burden-Patmon

We loved establishing a new holiday tradition of learning about what other kids look forward to at this time of year. Reminds me of the time we researched New Year’s traditions and brought all of our friends striped holiday socks (a Filipino tradition if I recall correctly!).

From everyone at CLiF – we hope you have celebrated this holiday season with friends and families, books and stories, traditions new and old, and the range of emotions that all will bring. Best wishes for 2018.

One response to “If You’re a Parent and… Holiday Book Tradition, Part 2

  1. Here are 2 books that I have in my Library’s collection – Rachel Stolworthy –
    Children’s Librarian Franklin Public Library Franklin NH
    The Shortest Day: Celebrating the Winter Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer (what the winter solstice is and how it has been observed by various cultures throughout history)
    Strega Nona’s Gift by Tomie dePaola (introduces young readers to Italian holiday traditions from the Feast of San Nicola to the Feast of Epiphany)

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