Illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier
For ages 4+
Thank you so much to the team at Little Tiger Press for a copy of this beautiful new Chanukah kids book. Although we have quite a few in Chanukah kids books in our collection at home, I have to say that this one is really super awesome, inclusive, representative of Jews whether orthodox, reform, non-practising who together all love this wonderful Festival of Lights.
Every year at my KS1 book club I delight in bringing in our menorah, multi-coloured candles, chocolate gelt (coins), and dreidel for some extra special fun. This year I was super pleased to be sharing a brand new book with the children. Looking at the windows illustrated on the front cover of the book I can see diverse representation of being Jewish or identifying as Jewish particularly reflected in the characters' white, brown or black skin colours; and the joy of this time of year filled with togetherness, great food, gifting and playing fun games. What an adorable book for home, libraries and school classrooms!!
After reading this wonderful story in book club (read on to find out all about it), we played a rather loud and exciting game of dreidel. The children were so kind to each other, those who were winning gladly offered coins to others who lost theirs early on. They very quickly remembered what the Hebrew symbols on the dreidel signified! We then took a break to light the menorah with all the children taking a turn to hold the Shamash candle with me. The Shamash candle is a ninth candle that is placed in the middle of the menorah and is used to light all the other candles each night. The children loved this magical moment. We were very safe, I only had a small group of children today and I had two extra teachers in with me especially. Afterwards the children went to their classrooms to start the day arms overflowing with equal shares of the gelt to eat after school. Yay!!
So, let me tell you more about 'Eight Nights, Eight Lights'... The story starts with young school boy Max heading home on a frosty evening with his grandpa to light the first candle of Chanukah. Each day, Max goes on a different Chanukah adventure whether taking freshly made doughnuts round to neighbours after school, or saying prayers around the menorah (the special candelabra for Chanukah) with his grandparents, or playing an exciting game of dreidel with his cousins to win yummy chocolate gelt (coins)!
Readers are introduced to other families, every night lighting their menorah, families who all come together at the end of the story for the eighth night of Chanukah at the synagogue for a party hosted by the Rabbi. The Rabbi tells the story of Chanukah to everyone, of the destruction of the temple by King Antiochus and his soldiers, and how a brave family (the Maccabees) fought back! It was then a miracle of the oil that enabled the lamp to burn for eight nights to enable the temple to be rebuilt. The story highlights that people can sometimes be afraid of differences in others when they don't understand them - an important message together with an insight into one of the most important (awesome) Jewish festivals of the year.
I donated my review copy to my local synagogue.
About the creators
Natalie Barnes (author)
Natalie Barnes writes for books, magazines, toys and even robots. When she’s not working (or reading magical realism literature), she can be found trekking through the Hertfordshire countryside with her chatty husband, two wild boys and one exceptionally polite dog called Masha.
Andrea Stegmaier (illustrator)
Andrea Stegmaier was born in 1979 in Freiburg, Germany. When she was a kid, she wanted to become an alligator-catcher in Alaska. This lasted for a few months until her parents told her that there are no alligators in Alaska. Trying to find a new profession, she later went to university to study German, history of art and architecture. She had worked as an architect for ten years when she turned her passion for children’s books into her new career. Since 2018 she has illustrated several books for different publishers and loves every day filled with drawing and painting. Andrea lives with her two kids and her husband in Stuttgart, a busy town in the south of Germany.
Grab a copy
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Publication date: 13 October 2022
Find more of my Chanukah / Hanukkah kids books recommendations on my store
*my review copy was kindly provided by the publisher
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