Hanukkah is approaching, so it’s time for many families to start preparing for the festival of lights. This holiday is a truly special time in our home. For us, it means decorating the house in blue and white at the start of November, adding latkes and gelt to our Thanksgiving menu, and incorporating some of our favorite Hanukkah children’s books into our reading rotation. That’s why we’re sharing our top reads for this holiday!
17 Hanukkah Children’s Books They’ll Love
Whether you are celebrating your first Hanukkah with your little one or looking to spice up your bookshelf with some new tales, these books are some of our favorites for the holiday. Don’t celebrate Hanukkah? Kids of all religions can enjoy these adorable Hanukkah children’s books that explain the story of the Jewish holiday. Just be sure to incorporate some gelt (chocolate coins) as you read!
1. “The Story of Hanukkah” by David A. Adler
Hanukkah is a fun holiday filled with celebrations, but the story behind it is just as important. This book explains the miracle behind Hanukkah in an easy-to-understand way. Great for preschoolers and toddlers, “The Story of Hanukkah” introduces them to the miracle of light, the Maccabean Revolt, the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, and more, alongside vibrant photos.
2. “The Night Before Hanukkah” by Natasha Wing
Get your kids excited for the holiday by reading “The Night Before Hanukkah.” This book explains what they can expect from the upcoming celebrations and gives them some insight into why we celebrate. “The Night Before Hanukkah” is part of Natasha Wing’s “The Night Before” series. So, if you celebrate Christmas, pair the Hanukkah book with “The Night Before Christmas” or double up on holiday fun with “The Night Before Thanksgiving.”
3. “Hanukkah Bear” by Eric A. Kimmel
“Hanukkah Bear” is a classic Hanukkah children’s book beloved by many. The cute tale follows Bubba Brayna, known for her latkes (potato pancakes), and a bear who wanders in to eat them after a long hibernation. You can return to this book yearly, no matter how old your kids get. It also includes a delicious latke recipe you can make with your kids afterward!
4. “Latke, The Lucky Dog” by Ellen Fischer
This book is excellent for explaining some Hannukah traditions, but it is even better if you are looking for something that helps teach kindness, too. The story centers around Latke, a dog rescued from a shelter on the first night of Hanukkah. Your kids will love learning about the holiday while seeing what mischief Latke gets into. It’s great for kids 1 to 5 years old.
5. “Chanukah Lights Everywhere” by Michael J. Rosen
Light is the basis of Hanukkah celebrations, and this book takes that up a notch by helping children discover all the light around them. Geared toward a bit older kids, this is a good option for those with children ages 4 through 7. The book also focuses on the miracle of Hanukkah rather than the gifting aspect, which is great for elementary-aged children who can start to understand this concept a bit better.
6. “Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah” by Norman Bridwell
The Big Red Dog is a classic book series that nostalgic parents everywhere love introducing to their kids. If your kids are already fans of Clifford, “Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah” is an excellent option for explaining the celebrations of Hanukkah. It has a cute story of a missing menorah light sprinkled in and comes with stickers.
7. “Happy Hanukkah, Curious George” by H. A. Rey
Another classic character, Curious George, helps tell the tale of Hanukkah with this adorable tabbed board book, which is perfect for the younger set (ages 2-4). George and his friends celebrate Hanukkah together in the best way: spinning the dreidel, making latkes, and learning about what makes the holiday so unique. Plus, this board book is super durable, ensuring you can read it repeatedly, even with younger ones getting their hands on it.
8. “Elmo’s Little Dreidel” by Naomi Kleinberg
Spinning the dreidel is one of the best games for young kids to play to prepare for Hanukkah. This Sesame Street board book featuring Elmo teaches the game in a fun, easy-to-understand way. If this is your little one’s first Hanukkah, this is a great first book to start your holiday collection with. If you want to give this book as a gift, add a dreidel for the perfect present!
9. “Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale” by Gloria Koster
“Little Red Ruthie” is a favorite among Jewish families everywhere. It is an adorable take on Little Red Riding Hood, where Ruthie has to convince the wolf that latkes are tastier than she is! Geared for ages 4-8, your kids will love following along with Ruthie as she ventures through the forest to her grandmother’s house for Hanukkah.
10. “Meet the Latkes” by Alan Silberberg
This hilarious book about a family of potato pancakes will make an excellent addition to your Hanukkah collection. Younger children will love hearing the story of the family and their dog, Applesauce, while older kids will laugh along with the countless jokes sprinkled throughout the story. Plus, the illustrations are quirky and adorable. This is one your kids will ask for over and over again each of the eight nights!
11. “Happy Hanukkah, Little Dreidel!” by Brick Puffinton
This book was the first Hanukkah children’s book I got for my daughter as a baby. The finger puppet is a fun element for babies to interact with as you read, and toddlers will love using the puppet themselves. This book teaches Hebrew letters, the dreidel game, and the story of Hanukkah. It also helps your little one with hand-eye coordination and language patterns.
12. “Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy” by Don Freeman
I love incorporating things from my childhood with my kids; Corduroy is a great way to do this. This board book is super simple, easy to read, and ideal for babies ages 1 to 3. Corduroy plays the dreidel, eats latkes, and celebrates Hanukkah in the cute, approachable way that only Corduroy knows how to do.
13. “Indestructibles: Hanukkah Baby” by Amy Pixton
My daughter constantly ripped apart books, so these indestructible books became a lifesaver! Not only are they rip-proof, but they are also waterproof and safe to chew on. The picture-heavy pages make it ideal for babies and young children, and this series is excellent for when you’re on the go. If you are traveling for Hanukkah, this book is a must!
14. “Hanukkah Is Coming!” by Tracy Newman
Board books are great for young kids, and this one is no different. It is simple, straightforward, and a great way to introduce them to all the best parts of Hanukkah — from spinning the dreidel to eating chocolate coins. The author also has similar children’s books for other Jewish holidays, so you can collect them and create a mini holiday book collection.
15. “Where Is Baby’s Dreidel?” by Karen Katz
This lift-the-flap book is a great interactive read for babies and toddlers. They can follow along with the story and lift the flaps as they search for the dreidel. During their search, they’ll also find other Hannukah items, such as a menorah, latkes, and gold coins.
16. “Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” by Greg Wolfe
“Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” is about an elf at the North Pole who learns that Jewish children celebrate Hannukah instead of Christmas. Eager to learn more about Hannukah, Shmelf the elf sneaks off and observes different Jewish families celebrating the holiday. Shmelf is so excited about his discovery that Santa gives him a new job: he becomes a Hanukkah elf who makes the holiday even more magical for Jewish children.
17. “Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights” by Bonnie Bader
This Big Golden Book, recommended for ages 3 through 7, is a great way to teach kids about Hannukah. It explains the history of this special holiday and showcases Hannukah traditions like lighting the menorah and spinning dreidels. Kids will especially love looking at the book’s detailed, colorful illustrations.
I hope you will add some of these Hanukkah children’s books to your book reading this year. Happy Hanukkah!