Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles
Jacob’s brother, Nathan, is autistic. Sometimes his repetition of phrases drives Jacob crazy, but Jacob’s mother explains that Nathan’s brain is just wired differently. A new boy moves in next door, and Jacob is happy to have a friend to play basketball with him. Jacob’s mother invites his new friend, Steven, for the first night of Hanukkah, but Jacob is mortified when Nathan blows out the Hanukkah candles. Every day, when Steven sees Jacob, Steven teases Jacob by pretending to blow out candles. On the last night of Hanukkah, Jacob’s mother invites Steven and his family to celebrate Hanukkah Nathan’s way. After lighting the menorah in the window, everyone is given a jelly doughnut with a candle in it and they all blow out their candles.
The story is based on a real “Nathan,” a high-functioning autistic child. The book is designed to introduce young children and families to autism and other developmental disorders. It helps reinforce the Jewish teaching of acceptance of every person as having been created in God’s image. The illustrations are colorful and portray the characters’ feelings in a sensitive manner. Recommended for ages 5-8.