By the Hanukkah Light

Overview


When Grandpa was a boy growing up in Europe, he celebrated Hanukkah in much the way children do today. He sang songs, played dreidel, and ate potato pancakes. Yet Hanukkah was very different. His family could not share the joy of Hanukkah with the world. They were forced to observe the holiday behind locked doors and drawn curtains. In those days, a man came with soldiers to persecute the Jews--just as a foreign king had done centuries earlier in Jerusalem. Sheldon Oberman's beautiful story explores ...
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Overview


When Grandpa was a boy growing up in Europe, he celebrated Hanukkah in much the way children do today. He sang songs, played dreidel, and ate potato pancakes. Yet Hanukkah was very different. His family could not share the joy of Hanukkah with the world. They were forced to observe the holiday behind locked doors and drawn curtains. In those days, a man came with soldiers to persecute the Jews--just as a foreign king had done centuries earlier in Jerusalem. Sheldon Oberman's beautiful story explores the meaning of Hanukkah in a way that enlightens and inspires. Neil Waldman's radiant illustrations capture the message of joy and courage that is the Festival of Lights.

When the family gathers to celebrate Hanukkah, Grandfather tells his own story of the holiday from World War II.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Oberman has masterfully capsulized the history of Hanukkah, then overlaid the ancient events with veiled references to the Holocaust persecutions, showing how the bond of intergenerational traditions transcend the terrors that have afflicted the Jewish people."--Booklist, starred review
Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Rachel and Jacob listen raptly as Grandpa tells the centuries-old Hanukkah story and adds a powerful new one: the persecution of the Jews by the Nazis when he was young. Both stories highlight the need to fight against spiritual destruction.
Children's Literature - Judy Chernak
The Hanukah story is fairly familiar by now; but this telling not only provides the ancient story but also contrasts a grandfather's memories of how different it is to celebrate openly and joyously in America with the way it used to be in Europe. Then, families had to shutter their windows and hide the light of the candles to avoid attacks by soldiers and marauding townspeople. Oberman tells how his family escaped that terrible time, taking almost nothing with them when they came here to live; how he grew up and served as a soldier in World War II, fighting against that same wickedness that destroyed homes and people; and how, at the end of the war, he found his family's hanukkiah (candlelabra) amidst the rubble of his former home. A reader cannot help but absorb a message about religious freedom throughout the ages in this almost magical tale of a found treasure. The minimalist pictures, which fit well with their shades of blue, pink and gold, portray the sense of each page without detracting from the story.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-4A grandfather gathers his family around him, first to tell them the story of Hanukkah and the Maccabees' victory over the Syrians. He also tells another story of Hanukkah, his own story of persecution and hiding as a Jew during World War II, unable to celebrate the holiday in the open for fear of arrest. He tells how he fought the Nazis like the Maccabees fought their oppressors. When he returns to his hometown and sees the destruction the war has caused, he experiences his own miraclehe finds his family's Hanukkiah or menorah gleaming up through the ashesa miracle as precious to him as the miracle of the temple's oil. The man's granddaughter, Rachel, promises to pass on the stories in just the same way to her own children. The prose has a poetic quality, and the impressionistic artwork, done largely in pastel shades of acrylic, serves the story well. The warm palette, the soft focus of the rounded figures, and the effective use of shading capture the natural light in some scenes and the illumination of the candles' flames in others. The colored backgrounds for the double-page spreads have a dappled look of handmade paper. Endnotes give additional information on both the history and current traditions of Hanukkah. A solid library selection.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781563976582
  • Publisher: Highlights Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 6 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.27 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author


Sheldon Oberman (deceased) is the author of The Always Prayer Shawl, illustrated by Ted Lewin, winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Award, among other honors.

Neil Waldman has illustrated man

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