Hanukkah Moon

Deb­o­rah Da Cos­ta; Gosia Mosz, illus.
  • Review
By – December 16, 2011
Iso­bel spends the first three nights of Hanukkah with her Aunt Luisa, who has just emi­grat­ed from Mex­i­co. She admires her aunt’s Span­ish Hanukkah sign that says Feliz Janu­ca,” the gigan­tic piña­ta shaped like a drei­del, and the large Hanukki­ah that looks like a boat with birds, squir­rels, rac­coons, and deer. Iso­bel also learns how to take pic­tures with her new cam­era, cre­ates a bird scrap­book, bakes drei­del-shaped cook­ies while singing I have a lit­tle drei­del” in Eng­lish and in Span­ish, and observes Rosh Hodesh, the cel­e­bra­tion of the new moon. The Hanukkah cus­toms of Sephardic Jews, bird watch­ing, pho­tog­ra­phy, Rosh Hodesh and the new moon dur­ing Hanukkah, and the Jew­ish val­ue of tak­ing care of ani­mals are all cov­ered, weigh­ing down the sto­ry and mak­ing it unclear what the main mes­sage is sup­posed to be. How­ev­er, the rich, pur­ple and gold infused illus­tra­tions are beau­ti­ful, and the append­ed glos­sary and Span­ish pro­nun­ci­a­tion guide add val­ue. With very few books avail­able to intro­duce chil­dren to the tra­di­tions of Sephardic Jews or the con­tem­po­rary cus­toms of Rosh Hodesh, Hanukkah Moon is worth­while despite its minor flaws. For ages 4 – 8.

Rachel Kamin has been a syn­a­gogue librar­i­an and Jew­ish edu­ca­tor for over twen­ty-five years and has worked at North Sub­ur­ban Syn­a­gogue Beth El in High­land Park, IL since 2008, cur­rent­ly serv­ing as the Direc­tor of Life­long Learn­ing. A past chair of the Syd­ney Tay­lor Book Award Com­mit­tee and past edi­tor of Book Reviews for Chil­dren & Teens for the Asso­ci­a­tion of Jew­ish Libraries News & Reviews, her arti­cles and book reviews appear in numer­ous pub­li­ca­tions. She has been a mem­ber of the Amer­i­can Library Association’s Sophie Brody Book Award Com­mit­tee since 2021.

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