Hanukkah, also known as the Jewish Festival of Lights, is an eight-day joyous holiday. Depending on where it falls on the Jewish calendar each year, it begins at the end of November or sometime in December. Hanukkah is a celebration of the re-dedication of the Temple of Jerusalem, which was destroyed by the Greeks in the second century BCE. After the victory of the Jewish people in the Maccabean Revolt, there was only enough oil to light the menorah for one night, but it miraculously lasted for eight. A special candelabrum, the menorah is lit each night in honor of this momentous occasion. In addition, tasty foods fried in oil, like latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (jelly donuts), are eaten, dreidel is played, and general merriment ensues. Check out these Hanukkah books to help kick off your celebration.
Hanukkah 2023 begins at sundown on December 7 and ends on December 15.
1. Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel
In this Caldecott Honor book set in the early 1900s, evil goblins haunt the local synagogue, making it impossible to celebrate Hanukkah this year. Hershel arrives in town on the first night of Hanukkah expecting a big celebration. Instead, it becomes his mission to help the villagers chase the goblins away for good.
Buy it: Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins on Amazon
2. Hanukkah Moon by Deborah da Costa
If you’re looking for Hanukkah books that explore the traditions of the Sephardic Jewish people (the Latin-Jewish community), this is a great choice. The story is told through the eyes of Isobel, who celebrates Hanukkah with her Aunt Luisa, who just moved to the United States from Mexico. See how they honor special Hanukkah traditions from both countries, including an ode to the new moon and a dreidel piñata.
Buy it: Hanukkah Moon on Amazon
3. The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket
Don’t be fooled by the title and cover of this book! This hilarious Hanukkah tale is told by a talking latke, who is beyond frustrated with the winter holiday season. He is at his wit’s end trying to explain to others that Hanukkah is entirely different from Christmas. Will he finally get his point across?
Buy it: The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story on Amazon
4. A Hanukkah With Mazel by Joel Edward Stein
Calling all cat people! In this charming story, lonely and poor Misha takes in a stray kitten during Hanukkah. The true miracle of Hanukkah ends up being something money can’t buy.
Buy it: A Hanukkah With Mazel on Amazon
5. Meet the Latkes by Alan Silberberg
In this Hanukkah book, a family of potato pancakes, aptly named the Latkes, gives us a peek into their celebration. Naturally, they are frying up sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and not potatoes for latkes! If this sounds funny to you already, just wait until you read this silly story with puns galore! It’s the perfect Hanukkah story to share with kids who love funny books.
Buy it: Meet the Latkes on Amazon
6. The Mexican Dreidel by Linda Elovitz Marshall and Ilan Stavans
In this selection set in Mexico, Danielito is thrilled to visit Bobo (grandma) all on his own to celebrate Januca. While the other kids in the neighborhood have Mexican tops called trompos, Danielito is the only one with a dreidel. Naturally, curiosity takes over, and new friendships are formed over fun and games.
Buy it: The Mexican Dreidel on Amazon
7. Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Hanukkah: With Light, Latkes, and Dreidels by Deborah Heiligman
If you are looking for a nonfiction Hanukkah book, National Geographic Kids will tell you everything you need to know about the special holiday.
8. Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles by David A. Adler
Tzedakah is the Jewish tradition of helping others who are less fortunate. As you share this story with your students, they will learn the mitzvah of giving to those in need, especially during the holidays.
Buy it: Hanukkah Cookies With Sprinkles on Amazon
9. On the First Night of Chanukah by Cecily Kaiser
This Hanukkah book will sound familiar since it is a parody of The Twelve Days of Christmas. However, everything about this book is indeed a celebration of the Festival of LIghts. Latkes, gelt, dreidels, and more fill the bright and colorful pages.
Buy it: On the First Night of Chanukah on Amazon
10. Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah by Linda Glaser
Rachel wants to make latkes today, even though her mom said they are waiting until next week. She visits her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Greenberg, and convinces her to make them with her instead. The two novices make quite a mess, but it all works out in the end.
Buy it: Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah on Amazon
11. Oskar and the Eight Blessings by Richard Simon and Tanya Simon
In this National Jewish Book Award winner, Oskar arrives in New York City after escaping from Nazi Germany in 1938. It is the seventh night of Hanukkah, and he is searching for the aunt he has never met in this strange new place. Oskar reminds himself of his father’s last words of encouragement as he takes in his new surroundings, experiencing random acts of kindness from strangers along the way.
Buy it: Oskar and the Eight Blessings on Amazon
12. The Eight Nights of Hanukkah by Judy Nayer
This all-in-one Hanukkah book has everything you need to celebrate in style, providing different activities for all eight nights of the holiday. You will find recipes, games, songs, arts and crafts projects, and more. Wow!
Buy it: The Eight Nights of Hanukkah on Amazon
13. Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale by Brian P. Cleary
The illustrations in this Hanukkah book go hand in hand with the text, presenting a wild and crazy household full of extended family and fun. We can all relate to the chaos that occurs when families get together on holidays, and this gang is no exception!
Buy it: Eight Wild Nights: A Family Hanukkah Tale on Amazon
14. Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah by Susan L. Roth
Follow a sweet family of mice as they celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah. It’s party time for these furry little creatures as they interpret the lyrics to the famous song in the book’s title.
Buy it: Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah on Amazon
15. Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah by Tilda Balsley
Looking for books that teach young readers the history of Hanukkah? This one does it through rhyme, explaining how the Maccabees fought for their freedom. They returned to the Holy Temple of Jerusalem to celebrate their victory, and the rest is history.
Buy it: Maccabee! The Story of Hanukkah on Amazon
16. Hanukkah Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig
Travel all over the world with this fact-filled Hanukkah book. Compare and contrast Hanukkah celebrations across the globe, while learning new traditions for years to come.
Buy it: Hanukkah Around the World on Amazon
17. Hoppy Hanukkah! by Linda Glaser
Join Violet, Simon, and the rest of their bunny family as they rekindle traditions this season on each page of this book.
Buy it: Hoppy Hanukkah! on Amazon
18. Hanukkah Bear by Eric A. Kimmel
Bubba Bryana makes the best potato latkes in town in this National Jewish Book Award Winner. As she prepares a bunch for the Hanukkah bash she is hosting, there is a knock on the door. Bubba Bryana, who doesn’t see very well, thinks it’s the rabbi and lets him in for the feast. It turns out she spent the evening feeding a very hungry (and charming) bear!
Buy it: Hanukkah Bear on Amazon
19. Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale by Gloria Koster
This fractured fairy tale takes a Jewish spin on a well-known tale. Ruthie is on her way to grandmother’s house with scrumptious latkes, when the Big Bad Wolf appears. Can she stop him from eating her for dinner?
Buy it: Little Red Ruthie: A Hanukkah Tale on Amazon
20. Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah by Norman Bridwell
Fans of Clifford the Big Red Dog books will love this story where Clifford and his BFF Emily Elizabeth celebrate their first Hanukkah. They nosh on latkes and sufganiyot, play dreidel, then visit the town’s giant menorah. Will Clifford save the night when they discover one of the menorah’s light bulbs is out of order?
Buy it: Clifford Celebrates Hanukkah on Amazon
21. Dusk by Uri Shulevitz
A little boy, his grandfather, and his dog go for a charming walk through New York City during the winter holiday season. As the sun begins to set, they observe the beautiful lights for Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa in the windows.
Buy it: Dusk on Amazon
22. Goodnight Bubbala: A Joyful Parody by Sheryl Haft
Looking for Hanukkah books that include Yiddish? Fans of Goodnight Moon will love this Jewish parody while learning all about Hanukkah. It is filled with Yiddish words, which is a German dialect mixed with Hebrew and other languages. As a bonus, a latke recipe from Ina Garten is included!
Buy it: Goodnight Bubbala on Amazon
23. Hanukkah Hamster by Michelle Markel
It’s the Hanukkah season, and lonely Edgar won’t be able to go back home to spend the holidays with his family in Israel. When a pet hamster is left in Edgar’s taxi cab just before Hanukkah, Edgar makes a new friend. He takes in the sweet and cuddly little guy, and they celebrate the holiday together.
Buy it: Hanukkah Hamster on Amazon
24. Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story by Fran Manushkin
The Menashe family are about to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah when a massive snowstorm traps them in their house. They are unable to access their stash of apples and potatoes outside, and are running low on food. When a homeless cat and dog appear at their doorstep, they invite them in. A miracle soon occurs, thanks to their new fur babies!
Buy it: Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story on Amazon
25. Way Too Many Latkes: A Hanukkah in Chelm by Linda Glaser
Tales from Chelm are Jewish stories where the characters do foolish things. In this silly story, Faigel has forgotten how to make her famous latkes. Her husband consults with the town rabbi, the “wisest man in town,” who clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about! In the end, it all works out, and everyone in town receives a tasty nosh.
Buy it: Way Too Many Latkes: A Hanukkah in Chelm on Amazon
26. Yitzi and the Giant Menorah by Richard Ungar
The people of Chelm receive an amazing Hanukkah gift from the mayor of nearby Lublin: a giant menorah where all can gather and light the candles together. The villagers want to thank the mayor for his kindness but can’t seem to make anything work (after all, this is Chelm!). Alas, young Yitzi ended up with the brightest idea of all.
Buy it: Yitzi and the Giant Menorah on Amazon
27. The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S. Perl
Max and Rachel’s family just moved into a new apartment and can’t find their Hanukkah supplies. Each night they borrow items from different neighbors, but nothing really seems right. Finally, on the night after Hanukkah, they decide to throw a celebration to thank their new neighbors for their help!
Buy it: The Ninth Night of Hanukkah on Amazon
28. Gracie’s Night: A Hanukkah Story by Lynn Taylor Gordon
This sweet Hanukkah book reminds us that the best things in life are things that money can’t buy: love, family bonds, and happiness. This is the true miracle of Hanukkah.
Buy it: Gracie’s Night: A Hanukkah Story on Amazon
29. The Night Before Hanukkah by Natasha Wing
Fans of Wing’s Night Before books will love this fun, rhyming Hanukkah story full of holiday cheer. This book will set the stage for the eight festive nights to follow!
Buy it: The Night Before Hanukkah on Amazon
30. The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol by Arthur A. Levine
Nate Gadol is a Hanukkah spirit who brings magic and hope to families in need. He helps make things last longer, which allows the Glaser family to share their valuable medicine with the O’Malleys. This holiday kindness-themed story touches on both Hanukkah and Christmas, reminding us to always embrace our differences and help out our neighbors.
Buy it: The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol on Amazon
31. Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf by Greg Wolfe
Shmelf the Elf is confused and curious. He works for Santa Claus, but realizes there are many wonderful children who are left off the gift list. Upon investigation, he discovers the joys of Hanukkah and is given a very special new job. This book is a gentle reminder that although Hanukkah and Christmas are celebrated around the same time of the year, they are entirely different holidays. But nobody is being left out!
Buy it: Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf on Amazon
32. A Wild, Wild Hanukkah by Jo Gershman and Bob Strauss
Any books with wild animals are sure to grab kids’ attention, and this one about Hanukkah is no exception. The animals come to life in this beautifully illustrated Hanukkah book, as they gather each night to celebrate. Everyone will love the use of alliteration, onomatopoeia, and figurative language too!
Buy it: A Wild, Wild Hanukkah on Amazon
33. Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas by Pamela Ehrenberg
This multicultural Hanukkah book spotlights a family of four consisting of an Indian mother and Jewish father. Instead of latkes, they switch things up and make Indian dosas for Hanukkah this year. When the family gets locked out of the house during the preparations, younger sister Sadie’s mischievous ways actually come into good use!
Buy it: Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas on Amazon