Review: Hanukkah Nights

Hanukkah Nights

written and illustrated by Amalia Hoffman

Kar-Ben Publishing (imprint of Lerner Publishing Group), 2022

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Arlene Schenker

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This is an unusual Hanukkah board book. It is mostly visual, with intriguing, colorful designs on black pages that let a child’s imagination wander freely.

On the left side of each spread we see a different artistic technique (spattered paint, chalk doodles, and so on) representing a candle flame. On the right we see the candles topped with these unique flames. The nights are counted from one to eight with a simple two-line rhyme for each.

The book concludes by showing a menorah filled with all of the artistically lit candles, followed by a scene of the child artist surrounded by art supplies. Then comes a bonus for kids who love to create: instructions on how to reproduce each of the freestyle flame designs in the book with paint, pencils, chalk, and household items like an eyedropper, a plastic fork, a sponge, etc.

The simplicity and uniqueness of this book could qualify it for a Sydney Taylor Book Award. Kids will love the opportunity for making their own menorahs on paper using the fun techniques demonstrated here. And it is a book that a little one would want to look at, while counting the nights, all by herself.
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Reviewer Arlene Schenker has a degree in Child Development from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from New York University Law School. She has worked as a New York City primary grade teacher, a lawyer, divorce mediator, and a community activist and volunteer. She now spends most of her time reading and writing picture books.


  1. Thank you so much for this great review.


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