A Chanukah Noel – Sharon Jennings

9781897187746.jpgA Chanukah Noel by Sharon Jennings

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Received: Publisher
First Published: 2010
Publisher: Second Story Press
Recommended Age: 5+
Genres & Themes: Picture Books, Kindness, Generosity, Holidays


 Charlotte and her family have just moved to a small town in France. There is a lot to get used to – a new language, new friends, a new school. Even the milk tastes different. As Christmas draws near, Charlotte is amazed to see the town transform itself. The streets are decorated, the shops are full of presents, and the smells of cinnamon and chocolate fill the air. Charlotte, who is Jewish, longs to have a Christmas too. Can she find a way to celebrate the spirit of both Christmas and Chanukah?


This is the story of a Jewish girl who wants to celebrate Christmas, except her parents deny her wish because Christmas is a Christian holiday and Jews celebrate Chanukah.

But that doesn’t stop Charlotte and her family from helping a Christian family celebrate their holiday. Not just anyone, but the family of the girl who is tormenting Charlotte at school.

I so like that this is all based on a true story, because this show of kindness and selflessness should exist and does exist. We should all help the people in need, especially during times like Christmas.

Since we’re talking about this, a few weeks ago I donated about twenty of my books to a family that didn’t have the means to buy gifts for the holiday and I can’t wait to do it again. I myself was a huge reader when I was young, but didn’t have any books in my room, so I can only imagine how happy she was when she opened her gifts.

Back to this book though. While the story is beautiful and an illustration of what I want to see in the world every day, I find disappointing that the author never does present what celebrating Chanukah means. If you ask me what people do for this Jewish holiday, I couldn’t answer you. The title is also kind of wrong since Noel means Christmas and the title basically means that there’s a subdivision of Christmas called Chanukah. Sort of makes you wince.

Really enjoyed reading it however. It seems a little too good to be true, perhaps, but I can tell you from experience that being kind to people who are awful to you can turn into something unexpected and positive.


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