Cindy Hewitt is a retired teacher with a passion for children's literature. Read-aloud stories add quality to a child's life experiences.
Hanukkah Is For the Whole Family
Family Celebration for Hanukkah
Emily Jenkins' All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah is a charming picture book and story of a family's preparation for Hanukkah with a bit of family drama. Hanukkah is quickly approaching and Greta is very excited. The first night of Hanukkah arrives and Mom is in the kitchen preparing delicious food. Greta and her sisters are excited that they will have latkes tonight. Everyone wants to help, but Mom thinks that Greta is too young to help. That does not make Greta very happy. Younger siblings will relate to Greta's feelings. Family drama will always occur when older siblings are allowed to do something that parents think that the younger child is too young to participate in.
Greta is finally sent to her room after having a bit of a tantrum. Mom says that she will be called when it is time to say the blessings for Hanukkah. Papa finally goes upstairs to get Greta and discovers that he cannot find her. Where can Greta be hiding? Papa has a special cookie to entice Greta to come out from hiding. He also has an idea for a special job for Greta to do after dinner. Young readers will want to read to discover what that job might be.
Paul O. Zelinsky contributed his talents as an illustrator with special classic illustrations. I especially like these illustrations because they appear to be similar to "old-fashioned" illustrations from classic picture books.
Emily Jenkins writes with descriptive text to tell about the preparations for making latkes. Potato latkes are always the favorite dish for Hanukkah. She is also creative in choosing the title to give the phrase "all-of-a-kind" a special meaning. Papa likes this description of his family because all of his children are all girls, meaning "all-of-a-kind.
All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah was published by Schwartz&Wade Books. It is recommended for ages 4-8 and has an ISBN of 978-0-399-55419-3.
Some History Behind All-of-a- Kind Family
Adults who collect children's books will want to add this delightful book to their collection from the classic series written by Sydney Taylor. Taylor was the first writer back in 1951 to publish books about Jewish children. She based her series of books on the fact that her parents had five girls and later three boys were born to their large Jewish family. Her first book, All-of-a-Kind Family was followed by four sequels. The Sydney Taylor award is now given every year by the Association of Jewish Libraries.
Charming "Old-Fashioned" Illustrations
Bring Hanukkah Celebration Into the Classroom
I always prepared activities for Hanukkah in my early childhood classrooms even if I did not have children from the Jewish faith in my class in any given year. I liked to expose my class to different holiday celebrations with activities that represented the holiday. Hanukkah was one of my favorites in that it offered a wealth of cultural activities for the children to particpate in. Making latkes with my class was most certainly part of the celebration.
*Read All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah in a story time session. Call attention to the fact that Greta has four sisters. Take a class poll to discover who has a family with all sisters or all brothers.
*Prepare a simple recipe for making latkes with your class. An electric skillet can be used to cook the latkes in your classroom.
*Introduce the vocabulary words from the Yiddish language in the glossary that the author includes.
*Call attention to the menorah. Present the history of the menorah in a lesson. Prepare a creative activity for children to make a menorrah. Toilet paper tubes, a base made from a long piece of sturdy cardboard, glue, and construction paper flames can be used to make a menorah.
*Bring a dreidel to class to teach the game to children. You will need pennies to play the game.
© 2021 Cindy Hewitt