Gillian Newland

Book Review: A Chanukah Noel

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A Chanukah Noel: A True Story 

by Sharon Jennings, illustrated by Gillian Newland

Ages 8 & up, 24 pages

Realistic Fiction

Charlotte’s family moves to France and she’s not happy since everything is different and she’s called  a foreigner. She’s placed in a lower grade and her mother tells her that she’ll catch up when other’s have their holiday, which is Christmas. Charlotte doesn’t want to study hard while others celebrate. Her mother reminds her that they’re Jewish and celebrate Chanukah. She feels left out, since all over there are Christmas decorations, treats, and toys. Her class has a holiday party and a classmate, Colette, who teased her states that she forgot a gift for the trade. Charlotte believes it’s silly that she forgot until she learns that Colette is poor and can’t afford a class Christmas gift. Charlotte thinks of an idea to bring a hint of Christmas while celebrating Chanukah. Charlotte’s family help provide Christmas for Colette’s family with food and gifts.

I thought this was an enjoyable book that highlights that even though individuals may celebrate different holidays, the spirit of generosity remains the same. Charlotte didn’t exactly celebrate Christmas herself, but she learned that a good deed forms friendship and cheers others. A Chanukah Noel  can be especially helpful if  a family celebrates more than more than one holiday.