Chanukah Poems + A Book Giveaway

Information about the book giveaway, which is sponsored by Chronicle Books, comes at the end of this post.

As a practicing Jew, I’m a little perplexed about the popularity of Chanukah.  Chanukah is a minor holiday.  It doesn’t have the same religious significance as Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavuot.  Yet, Chanukah gets more attention than the other ones since it falls around Christmastime each year.

I’ve been searching for holiday-related books that can be used in public school classrooms to educate children about the significance of the December holidays while maintaining the separation of church and state.  (I taught about all of the December holidays to my former fourth graders in 2008 without violating the separation of church and state.  To read more about it click here.)   Eight Winter Nights: A Family Hanukkah Book, which is written by Laura Krauss Melmed and illustrated by Elisabeth Schlossberg, is a fantastic NEW poetry book about Chanukah that teaches about the Festival of Lights.

Eight Winter Nights goes beyond teaching the dreidel song and focusing on giving presents.  This book actually educates readers about the importance of certain symbols of the holiday (e.g., the shamash or the ninth candle on the menorah) and about traditions like eating latkes or giving tzedakah, which is money that’s collected and given to those who are less fortunate.  All of this teaching is done in a way that young readers can understand and connect with since the book doesn’t feel religious.

In addition to using this book to help teach your students about the holiday of Chanukah, Eight Winter Nights can also serve as a mentor text for students who wish to write focused, holiday-related poems.  Here are some examples of the poetry written by Melmed:


  • Special thanks to Chronicle Books which provided a review copy of Eight Winter Nights, as well as permission to share the images/poems above.  They’re also providing a copy of this book to one of our readers.
  • To win a copy of the book please leave a comment about this post, in the comments section of this post by Friday, December 10th by 11:59 p.m. EST A random drawing will take place on Sunday, December 12th and the winner’s name will be announced in a blog post later that day.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address.  I will pass your mailing address on to my contact at Chronicle Books who will ship a copy of the book out to the giveaway recipient.  Please note: Your e-mail address will not be published online.