Review: Latkes for Santa Claus

Latkes for Santa Claus by Janie Emaus, illustrated by Bryan Langdo

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Rachel Simon

Latkes for Santa Claus by Janie Emaus and illustrated by Bryan Langdo is a sweet story of an interfaith household. Jewish Anna is excited when she realizes Santa will come to her house for the first time this year. Her new Christian stepbrother Michael is sure Santa will eat his homemade cookies, but Anna has other ideas. She thinks Santa would love the Jewish food her family has -- from Bubbe Sadie’s matzo ball soup to noodle kugel to tzimmes. But all of those delicious foods aren’t quite the finger food Santa needs, so she finally figures out Santa can eat latkes and not make a mess.

The illustrations are bright and cheerful, and I particularly loved the images of Santa with latkes high in his bag on his sleigh. The book represents many interfaith families today, who partake in Christmas and Hanukkah. In addition, Latkes for Santa Claus comes with recipes for latkes and sugar cookies that families can make together.

The book is a lovely look at interfaith and blended families and would be a possible contender for the notable award.

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Reviewer Rachel Simon is a youth services library assistant at the Newton Free Library in Newton, MA. She is a member of the Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award committee. She has her M.L.I.S. and Master’s in Children’s Literature from Simmons University.