Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles

Tami Lehman-Wilzig; Nicole Katz­man; Jere­my Tugeau, illus.
  • Review
By – November 7, 2011

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.

Read­ing Guide

Diane Levin Rauschw­erg­er is librar­i­an for Con­gre­ga­tion Beth Am, Los Altos Hills, CA, and has worked as a children’s librar­i­an for the Sun­ny­vale Pub­lic Library. She is the author of a series of children’s pic­ture books, includ­ing Dinosaur on Hanukkah, Dinosaur on Passover, and Dinosaur on Shab­bat, pub­lished by Kar-Ben Publishing.

Discussion Questions