Eight Nights, Eight Lights
Natalie Barnes and Andrea Stegmaier
Presented from the viewpoint of children Max and Lara who lives opposite, this is a lovely introduction to the Jewish festival of lights, Chanukah. It begins in a bustling city just before the festival itself when Max is excitedly hurrying home telling his grandpa that he’s going to light the first candle on the family’s menorah that night. This he does in the company of his grandparents and mother. Meanwhile across the road Lara and her family are doing likewise. As the story progresses we see other festivities taking place in other homes – the candle lighting, the preparation and sharing of special foods
including latkes and cookies decorated with Jewish stars, the playing of dreidel
and the welcoming of visitors. There’s an exchange of gifts and one young couple are spending their first night in a new home together. On the eighth night there’s a party at the synagogue and the rabbi tells the story of the festival’s origins – how the oil in the menorah lasted not one but eight nights. Finally back home once more, having lit all eight candles Max and his mother look out onto the street where ‘fireworks burst overhead’ and windows are bright with light. A joyous way to end the festival.
Beautifully illustrated, this is a smashing book to introduce younger primary age children to the Chanukah festival, which begins on December 18th this year.