Friends and Neighbors and Classmates

I’ve already blogged about a few books for interfaith families that discuss celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas.  I also wanted to share some picture books that feature winter holidays across the community.  It’s not a comprehensive list (what list could be?) but it does show some examples of families preserving their own traditions while learning about (and sometimes sharing in) their neighbors’.

Elijah's Angel
Elijah’s Angel: A Story for Chanukah and Christmas
by Michael J. Rosen
Young Michael isn’t sure how to handle the gift of a carved angel from his friend, the local artist Elijah Pierce.  Maybe God and his parents would both be upset at the thought of a graven image in a Jewish home!  In the end, his parents help him understand that it’s all right to keep the angel as a sign of friendship.

Everybody Serves Soup
Everybody Serves Soup
by Norah Dooley
Carrie tries out several types of soup while going around the neighborhood, shoveling snow to earn money to buy a Christmas gift.  The book includes recipes for homemade soups from different parts of the world.

Jackie's Gift
Jackie’s Gift
by Sharon Robinson
When young Steve, who is Jewish, tells his new neighbor, Jackie Robinson, that his family does not have a Christmas tree, Jackie brings one to his neighbors, not knowing that they celebrate Hanukkah instead of Christmas. The book is based on a true story, and you can listen to an interview with the author (the famous baseball player’s daughter) and the man who was once the young neighbor, Steve.

Messy Bessey's Holidays
Messy Bessey’s Holidays
by Pat McKissack
Bessey and her mother bake cookies for Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Hanukkah, and after cleaning up the kitchen, they distribute the treats to their neighbors.

Shante Keys and the New Year's Peas
Keys and the New Year’s Peas by Gail Piernas-Davenport
When Shanté is sent to find black-eyed peas for her family’s New Year’s celebration, she learns about each of her neighbor’s New Year’s traditions and invites them all over to try black-eyed peas.

The Trees of the Dancing Goats
The Trees of the Dancing Goats
by Patricia Polacco
During a scarlet fever epidemic one winter in Michigan, a Jewish family helps make Christmas special for their sick neighbors.

Yoon and the Christmas Mitten
Yoon and the Christmas Mitten
by Helen Recorvits
Yoon learns about Santa Claus at school, and has high hopes for getting a stocking stuffed even though her mother tells her, “We are not a Christmas family.  Our holiday is New Year’s Day.”

There’s one more book that doesn’t quite fit my theme, but it’s too good not to include:

Celebrations of Light
Celebrations of Light: A Year of Holidays Around the World
by Nancy Luenn
This nonfiction book focuses on the theme of Light rather than the theme of Winter.  Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and  Christmas are all included, as are the Hindu festival Diwali, a festival of lanterns to mark the end of Ramadan, and more.

-Miss Sarah

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