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Northern Lights

Northern Lights

by Tami Lehman-Wilzig, Craig Orback (Illustrator)
A Yupik Eskimo family in an Alaskan village help Sara Israel and her doctor father celebrate Hanukkah using Eskimo improvisations.


A Yupik Eskimo family in an Alaskan village help Sara Israel and her doctor father celebrate Hanukkah using Eskimo improvisations.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A Yupik Eskimo village is the unlikely but memorable setting for this contemporary Hanukkah tale. Sara is accompanying her father, a traveling doctor who makes his rounds by plane, when bad weather prevents them from returning home in time to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Instead, while Dad visits the clinic, Sara holes up with a Yupik woman and her English-speaking granddaughter, where they while away the storm by making shadow figures and telling stories-including the story of Hanukkah. An improvised menorah, the smell of assaliaq (fried bread) and the ``quivering bands of color'' of the Northern Lights are among the well-chosen details that give this book its certain glow. Ages 5-9. (Nov.)
Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
Sara Israel joins her doctor father on his rounds. Sounds like an old-fashioned prairie story, right? But this doctor is in Alaska, and their "sled" is a plane. Grounded by bad weather, they stay with their pilot's family. Sara tells them about Hanukkah-that it's a special holiday for families, and that tonight is the first night. The old woman is interested in the Jews' use of oil-she says that she used to use oil in lamps. When she creates an Eskimo menorah, Sara doesn't mind being away from home on this special night. A lovely story that brings two races together. Haas' illustrations capture the cold of Alaska and the warmth of the family and the eerie beauty of the Northern Lights.
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Conway's holiday story takes place in Alaska. When a sudden storm grounds the plane of Sara and her doctor father the young girl sorrows that she won't be home for Hanukkah. Left with a Yupik Eskimo family while her father makes rounds, Sara finds that the smells of fried bread remind her of latkes and in the warm cozy house she shares Hanakkah traditions with an Alaskan Sarah. The book does a marvelous job of expressing the differences of both cultures and uniting them through the universality of feelings.

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

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