Eight Tales for Eight Nights:

A Happy Chanukah Storytelling List

 

Compiled by Rabbi Wendy Spears

 

Since such a big part of Chanukah is telling the story of the Maccabees and their rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem, I like to keep the storytelling tradition alive and expand it. Here are my current favorites for children, intermediates, and adults; find them at the library or your favorite bookseller.

 

Beautifully illustrated children’s books:

 

  • “Chanukah in Chelm” by David Adler
  • “The Borrowed Hanukkah Latkes” by Linda Glaser
  • “Mrs. Greenberg’s Messy Hanukkah” by Linda Glaser
  • “Latkes, Latkes, Good to Eat” by Naomi Howland
  • “The Chanukkah Guest” by Eric Kimmel
  • “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins” by Eric Kimmel (a Caldecott Honor Book)
  • “The Magic Dreidels” by Eric Kimmel
  • "Sammy Spider's First Hanukkah" by Sylvia Rous
  • “Zigazak!” by Eric Kimmel

 

For the tiny tots:

 

  • “The Runaway Latkes” by Leslie Kimmelman (the Gingerbread Man, transformed into latkes)
  • “Rainbow Candles: A Chanukah Counting Book” by Myra Shostak (sing it to “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”)

 

Folktale collections for intermediates and adults (don’t be put off by illustrations):

 

  • “The Jar of Fools: Eight Hanukkah Stories From Chelm” by Eric Kimmel (some illustrations)
  • “The Spotted Pony” by Eric Kimmel (some illustrations)
  • “Eight Tales for Eight Nights” by Peninnah Schram

 

Just For Adults: Humor about life in general (because we need a good laugh) in vignettes - read one each night

 

  • “I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” by Nora Ephron
  • “Husbandry: Sex, Love, & Dirty Laundry - Inside the Minds of Married Men” by Stephen Fried

 

You may be wondering why Eric Kimmel features so prominently on this list. He is a storyteller with a particular gift for making our Jewish stories accessible and fun. He researches the Talmud, Midrash, and historical folktales, as well as adapting stories so that they flow in an easy and engaging style.