Hanukkah is the Jewish festival of lights, which is celebrated to commemorate the victory of the Maccabees army, over the Hellenistic Syrians. The festival of lights starts from 25th of the Kislev month (As per Hebrew calendar) and continues for eight days, through the second of Tevet. The Jews light a special candelabrum called Menorah or Hanukiah, the nine branched candle stand, during this festival. Several books have been written on Hanukkah, which contain many relevant details of the festival. These books prove to be an ideal source of information for both the Jews and the people from other religions, educating them about Chanukah.
Hanukkah books bring out several facts associated with the festival, some of which even the Jews may not be aware of. The young children especially benefit from them. These books serve to teach the children the historical importance of the festival. Besides, they serve as the main medium to make them acquainted with their own culture. Tomie de Paola’s ‘My First Chanukah’ is a fabulous kid Hanukkah book that is apt to educate young children about Hanukkah festival. It has been wonderfully expressed and illustrated by the author. The book is ideal for toddlers and young children in the age group of 1-5 years.
In the book ‘My First Chanukah’, Tomie uses simple text and clear illustrations so that the idea proposed by the book is accurately received by the young minds. He uses common language, which can create the right visual appeal in the mind of the readers. The book offers plenty of information on menorah, candle lighting blessings, traditions and fun time activities associated with it. It also explains why and how candles are lit. It even highlights the traditional celebration of the festival, like the eating of latcakes, spinning of dreidl and such other customs.
The book opens with the candid description of primary landscape, with every house lit by the lighted menorahs. Then, there is the description of the major traditions followed in the festival. The tradition of lighting of the menorah is described in detail, followed with a message to the youngsters. The writer concludes his book with a message of hope to the youngsters that “We will celebrate Chanukah again next year”. The book can be easily read to the small kids by the parents. The stories and descriptions narrated are simple and can be easily perceived by the tender minds.