A ROUNDUP OF THE BEST NEW HANUKKAH BOOKS FOR KIDS 2023 REVIEWS: LATKE'S FIRST…
Written by Jeron Ashford
Illustrated by Stacey Schuett
(Creston Books, 2014. $16.95, Ages 4-11)
“What do you do when your celebration needs a candle, but yours are all gone?”
Nana Clover needs a candle for her Thanksgiving meal. The Danziger family forgot to get a havdalah candle. The fifth candle on Kirsten’s St. Lucia crown broke. Donte’s baby brother, Jamila cheerfully eats the Faith candle for the Kwanzaa kinara. How will Faruq and Nasreen’s father find their new apartment during a power outage?
A ” … bumpy, drooping candle” is passed from one neighbor to the next in a close-knit and supportive apartment community. At first, the candle is seen as quite ugly. Kirsten worries that everyone will laugh at her if she uses it in her crown. Donte wonders how his family will be able to “… talk about faith with that sorry thing…” The Danziger children complain that it is not braided and only has one wick. Grandpa Danziger, hushing his grandchildren, tells them ” … a candle is blessed by what it does, not by how it looks. It’ll shine.”
Sure enough, when lit, the “frumpy” little candle glows more brightly and seems to last longer than other candles. All the celebrations go through without a hitch. Nasreen and Faruq are able to use it to guide their father to their new apartment where all the neighbors have gathered to welcome the family.
A lovely and heartwarming story for the holidays (and every day) about sharing, caring, and supporting others’ needs and traditions.
Schuett’s rich illustrations glow as warmly and as brightly as the story’s candle.
Author Ashford concludes with a brief note about the holidays mentioned in her story.
Visit Creston Books to read more about the publisher and its books. This story has many wonderful curriculum connections: research, writing, crafts, and more. Please see the excellent curriculum and activity guide the publisher created for this book.
- Reviewed by Dornel Cerro