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by Deborah Da Costa
AR Test, Picture Book
When Isobel is invited to Aunt Luisa’s for Hanukkah, she’s not sure what to expect. Aunt Luisa has recently arrived from Mexico. “At Aunt Luisa’s you’ll get to celebrate the Hanukkah Moon,” Isobel’s father promises. Isobel’s days at Aunt Luisa’s are filled with fun and surprises – a new camera, a dreidel piñata filled with sweets, and a mysterious late night visit to welcome the luna nueva, the new moon that appears on Hanukkah.
When Isobel goes to visit her aunt, she experiences the Hanukkah Moon for the first time. Aunt Luisa explains how Rosh Chodesh is traditionally celebrate with each noon moon. The holiday honors the women who, unlike the males Israelites, refused to contribute gold to a golden calf. The special holiday illustrates the little-known tradition of the Latin-Jewish community. However, Isobel doesn’t just learn about the Hanukkah Moon, she also enjoys getting to know her aunt, who teaches photography at a college.
As the characters talk about some of the holiday traditions, the illustrations bring the story to life. Using soft yellow and purples, the illustrations are uniquely beautiful. Readers will want to look carefully at the picture’s details so they don’t miss anything. When Isobel and Aunt Luisa go outside, readers will need to look for the animals that are hiding in the shadows. Even though Hanukkah Moon is a picture book, younger readers will need help with the text heavy pages and the unfamiliar words.
The author’s note appears, which is easy to miss, appears in small print on the first page of the story. However, readers will want to take the time to read the author’s note, which explains the Spanish Jew’s connection to the story. The end of the book also has a glossary that will help readers understand the traditions.
Hanukkah Moon isn’t necessarily an amazing story; however, the story focuses on the multicultural aspects of the celebration, which allows the reader to understand the tradition behind the Hanukkah Moon. Anyone who wants to learn more about the Jewish holiday should read Hanukkah Moon, which highlights the importance of creativity and kindness.
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