Thursday, October 15, 2020

The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S. Perl & illustrated by Shahar Kober [Review & Giveaway]

We are again looking at a children's book featuring the Jewish Hanukkah celebration. 

My thoughts:  This is a sweet little story of a Jewish family who has just moved into a new apartment. The boxes with all their things are still to be emptied.

But Hanukkah is about to begin and they need their menorah and the candles that go into it. But they can't find it. So they begin to improvise.

Each night a candle is lit and there is a special activity or food for that night. There is symbolism in each night's candle lighting and the activity or food commemorating the Hanukkah celebration.

Since they can't find the items of food or other materials to observe each night's celebration, the children run up and down the stairs to the various apartments, meeting their neighbors who in turn provide a variety of items so the family can have a Hanukkah Celebration. Not quite authentic but definitely memorable.

A nice story about a Jewish holiday and its significance to the family. A nice story of new neighbors being kind and helpful. A nice story of children content to make-do and not to whine.

A good read to learn a bit about a Jewish holiday even if you're not Jewish.

About the book: It shows children and reminds parents that, like the shamash, individual people have the power to spark change and brighten the lives of those around them. Its celebration of unsung helpers is particularly timely, as we honor the healthcare and other essential workers who are risking their lives during this unprecedented time.

It’s Hanukkah, and Max and Rachel are excited to light the menorah in their family’s new apartment. But, unfortunately, their Hanukkah box is missing. So now they have no menorah, candles, dreidels, or, well, anything! Luckily, their neighbors are happy to help, offering thoughtful and often humorous stand-in items each night. And then, just as Hanukkah is about to end, Max and Rachel, inspired by the shamash (“helper”) candle, have a brilliant idea: they’re going to celebrate the Ninth Night of Hanukkah as a way to say thanks to everyone who’s helped them!

This is not only a heartwarming and fun story, it’s also an invitation to join in a beautiful new Hanukkah tradition: celebrating a ninth night with new neighbors and friends! The book includes a guide to celebrate your own “Shamash night” – even if you’re not Jewish.

Perl was inspired to write The Ninth Night of Hanukkah (Sterling Children's Books; 9/15/20; ISBN: 978-1454940883; Hardcover $16.95; Ages 3+; 40 pages) by a conversation with her daughters in which they questioned why the shamash wasn't given its own (ninth) night of honor after spending eight nights helping the other candles. Hanukkah is the perfect time to show appreciation for those who help others and the world at large, and if it means keeping the menorah and the latke pan out for one more night to do so -- well, who can argue with that?

About the creators: Erica S. Perl is the author of many books for children, including All Three Stooges (the 2018 National Jewish Book Award winner, and a Sydney Taylor Honor), When Life Gives You OJ (Sydney Taylor Notable), and Goatilocks and the Three Bears. She lives in Washington, DC, with her family. Learn more about her on Twitter @ericaperl or at Shahar Kober is a freelance illustrator and art director who lives in Israel. He graduated from Shenkar College of Design in 2005. He illustrates children's books, and contributes illustrations to newspapers, magazines, websites, and animation projects. You can find him at

Begins October 15
Ends November 3 at 12:01 a.m. ET
Open to USA & CANADA addresses only.
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate a review. Opinions are mine, alone and are freely given. Winner's copy is provided and shipped directly to the winner by publisher or publicist.


  1. I think all children should learn about other cultures and religion.

  2. I teach my children about various cultural and religious holidays holidays. It is so important to understand what other people do and believe. We celebrate Hanukkah, so my children would love this book.

  3. It is important to teach kids about different religions because they might go to school with kids that don't celebrate the same as them. We just need to teach them to be accepting of different views.

  4. I believe it is important to teach children the culture and religion of others. My son grew up in a city that was very diverse and had many friends of different faiths. We would often discuss these as we celebrated Christmas and some of his friends didn't.

  5. It is important to teach kids about other people’s culture and religion so that they learn that they should accept everyone, and that every religion is unique and important.

  6. It is absolutely important to teach children of other faiths and cultures. At school we did projects on how other cultures celebrate Christmas. For children, look at the fun aspects to capture their interests.

  7. I certainly believe it is important to teach children about other cultures and human beliefs that are different from their own.


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