Holiday Books for Blended Families
Celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas in your home? The staff of InterfaithFamily, an organization based in Massachusetts supporting Jewish-Christian couples, recommends these kid favorites.
Sadie knows she is a lucky girl. After all, she is “a mix of two traditions.” As the title suggests, Daddy celebrates Christmas and Mama celebrates Hanukkah. To honor both holidays, the family hangs candy canes on the menorah, sprinkles gelt under the Christmas tree, and leaves latkes and milk on the mantle for Santa Claus. They aren’t the only ones who have special traditions. When Sadie’s relatives visit, everyone shares stories of their own way of celebrating. Told with vibrant, mixed-media collages, this is a sweet story that offers creative ways to combine holiday rituals.
To buy: $13.50, amazon.com.
When Sophie invites her friend Tommy over to her house for a Hanukkah party, Tommy gets to learn about the traditions behind the holiday. He tastes potato latkes for the first time, observes Sophie and her mother recite a prayer in Hebrew as they light the candles, and plays with dreidels next to her Christmas tree. Tommy also shares his own Christmas traditions with Sophie, revealing the many different ways families celebrate. But, at the heart of it all, the story shows that family coming together is what really matters.
To buy: $18.50, amazon.com.
Rachel will be spending the holidays at her Nonna’s house. The only problem is Nonna doesn’t celebrate Hanukkah. Will Rachel have to miss the festival of lights? Of course not, say her parents, who give her an early present: a menorah featuring nine female Macabees. When Rachel accidentally leaves the menorah on the plane, she’s sure Hanukkah is ruined. Fortunately, Nonna saves the day with a homemade menorah (made from her impressive collection of perfume bottles), proving the power of family and tradition.
To buy: $8, amazon.com.
Every Hanukkah, Emma’s father cries, “Let’s light the lights!” and Emma happily lights the menorah. Emma's equally giddy every Christmas when her mother proclaims, “Let’s light the lights!” and decorates the tree. The book, which is filled with rich watercolor illustrations, stays clear of religious explanation, but will be a welcome addition to the holiday book collection.
To buy: From $19, barnesandnoble.com.
Prepare to laugh out loud with this holiday story from the famed children’s storyteller Lemony Snicket (A Series of Unfortunate Events). The book follows a latke that escapes being fried in a pan of hot oil. As it runs down the street screaming a la the Gingerbread Man, the latke encounters several different Christmas decorations. As the latke explains the story of Hanukkah and the holiday’s traditions, each decoration mistakes the latke as being part of Christmas, which then sends the latke running off screaming again. Silly and irreverent, this book will help teach young kids the story of Hanukkah.
To buy: $12, amazon.com.