Jewish or not, holiday or not–these are two of my favorite books, whatever the not category. They even read-aloud well up through 6th grade. So gather all the kiddos together and read:

Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky: Based on a remark in a letter by George Washington, this book tells of a lone Jewish soldier at Valley Forge who is “discovered” lighting Hanukkah candles by General Washington. Krensky does a masterful job of weaving together the Jewish and American hopes for freedom. It’s realistic, not heavy handed or sappy, and tacks on no moral. No need to; the story says it all.

One Candle by Eve Bunting: A story that moves me so, sometimes I have a hard time getting through it. Again, no sap here but lots of truth about the things that are most important in life–and how they make us human.

Both are in picture book format so even preschoolers will probably follow along if they can see the pictures. But the stories are really for the older ones (even you and me).

Happy Hanukkah!