Title: The Ninth Night of Hanukkah
Author: Erica Perl
Illustrator: Shahar Kober
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Review copy: Final copy via publisher
Availability: On shelves now
Summary: It’s Hanukkah, and Max and Rachel are excited to light the menorah in their family’s new apartment. But, unfortunately, their Hanukkah box is missing. So now they have no menorah, candles, dreidels, or, well, anything! Luckily, their neighbors are happy to help, offering thoughtful and often humorous stand-in items each night. And then, just as Hanukkah is about to end, Max and Rachel, inspired by the shamash (“helper”) candle, have a brilliant idea: they’re going to celebrate the Ninth Night of Hanukkah as a way to say thanks to everyone who’s helped them!
This book is not only a heartwarming and fun story, it’s also an invitation to join in a beautiful new Hanukkah tradition!
Review: I love the unique take this book has on the holiday. I've often read or heard about the story of the Maccabbean soldiers and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight nights, but hadn't really thought much about the shamash candle. I'm not Jewish, but really appreciated this focus on helping and appreciation for the helpers in our lives. This certainly seems like a book that Jewish families could enjoy, but any family can connect with being helpers and thanking or honoring those who have helped us. This is a story that has the warmth of family, community, and sharing and it feels like a warm hug. I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for books about Hanukkah, but also for those wanting books about kindness, helpfulness, community, and appreciating those "who help heal the world."