Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 10, 2020

HAPPY HANUKKAH! And Book Winners


below are 8 book winners to help celebrate the 8 days of Hanukkah

Belinda Michelson Brock won WALKOUT by Tina Shepardson

Laura Roettiger won SADIE’S SHABBAT STORIES by Melissa Stoller

Marci Whitehurst won JUDGE JUILETTE by Laura Ghel

Janet Sheets won THE NINTH NIGHT OF HANUKKAH by Erica S. Pearl

Jilanne Hoffmann won LULU & ROCKY IN INDIANAPOLIS by Barbara Joosse

Wendy Wahman won Book Giveaway: LIONS & CHEETAHS & RHINOS by Moira Rose Donohue

Angie Quantrell won Book Giveaway: BLING BLAINE by Rob Sanders

Janet Lawler won Book Giveaway: Guided Practice for Reading Growth, Grades 4-8: Texts and Lessons to Improve Fluency, Comprehension, and Vocabulary.

Please send me your name, address, and book you won to kathy.temean (at) and put Book Winner in the subject area.

JILL WEBER: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

There is no “wrong” way to spell Hanukkah.

You may have seen the holiday spelled like Hanukkah, Hannuka, or Chanukah… the list goes on.

The most common version is Hanukkah, but all of the spellings are actually accurate. Because there is no correct way to directly translate the Hebrew sounds to English, it could be spelled a variety of different ways, each equally correct.

LISA ANCHIN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

The temple required a holy light to burn inside at all times, but the Jews had only enough oil for one night. Incredibly, the light burned for eight days.

Hanukkah lasts for eight nights, to commemorate how long the holy light burned.

AMAILA HOFFMAN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

The word Hanukkah means “dedication.”


The famous dreidel, or four-sided spinning top, was invented as a distraction. The Greek-Syrians had outlawed Jewish studies, so the Jews spun dreidels to pretend they were merely playing games while they engaged with their scripture.

Michelle Kogan not only sent in the illustration above, but also the poem below to celebrate Hanukkah.

Hustle of Hanukkah
Michelle Kogan © 2014

Hustle of Hanukkah
somehow squeezing it in
In between holidays
falling often mid week

In between school and work
and numerous car trips
In between tradition
and finding your own way

In between Maccabees
the temples destruction
In between stolen oil
a miracle appears

In between night’s darkness
inner warmth radiates
In between lights glowing
throughout cold winter days

In between your mom’s arms
and between dad’s embrace
Making Hanukkah fit
in between for eight days


SUSAN GAL: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

A Menorah is a candelabra with nine candles. Four on either side and a candle in the center intended to light all the others. This is known as the shamash and it sits higher than (or somehow apart from) the other candles.

A Menorah is lit each night of the holiday.

AMAILA HOFFMAN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

The world’s largest menorah resides in New York City — actually, there’s two. After competing for years, both the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn light up 32-foot tall beauties every year. Manhattan’s came first (and was thus dubbed the winner by a rabbinical court in 2016), standing tall in Central Park since 1973. The Brooklyn one came to be in Park Slope’s Grand Army Plaza in 1984. Why didn’t they try to inch each other out and keep going taller? Thirty-two feet is the maximum allowed height for a menorah by Jewish law. Grand Army Plaza in New York weighs in at 4,000 pounds and will be lit each night of Hanuakkah. 

AMAILA HOFFMAN: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

Hanukkah dishes are fried for a reason. Latkes, sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), apple fritters, kugel- when you think of the food served at Hanukkah most of them are fried. This isn’t a coincidence, people fry their food in oil for Hanukkah as a symbol for the miracle oil that burned for eight nights straight.

Over 17.5 million jelly donuts are consumed in Israel throughout Hanukkah.

JILL WEBER: Featured on Illustrator Saturday.

Gifts were not always given for Hanukkah. It used to be tradition for people to give money to one another for Hanukkah. But as Christmas became more popular, more and more Jewish people began giving gifts instead.


POEM BY MARIE WAGNER: Marie is an Artist, Author, Publisher, and Web designer.


The word “hanukkah” comes from the Hebrew word “Hinuch,” or “to teach.”

Jews follow a tradition of incentivizing their children to learn Torah on this holiday by gifting them gelt, or golden-wrapped chocolates that resemble coins. Gelt can also be won in a game of Dreidel!

Though we’ve never had a Jewish president in the U.S., Hanukkah has been celebrated at the White House. In 1951, Harry Truman was gifted a menorah from David Ben Gurion, the first prime minister of Israel. Almost 30 years later, Jimmy Carter was the first president to recognize Hanukkah. He did so in 1979, but the first menorah wasn’t present outside the White House until 1989, when George Bush was in office. The first president to light a menorah was actually Bill Clinton in 1993.

Hope all my Jewish friends around the world have a wonderful holiday!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. All these Chanukah stories are wonderful! Thank you, Kathy!


  2. Woohooo!!! I’m excited to win Lulu & Rocky!! Thank you!

    We are missing our 15-year tradition of attending a friend’s Hanukkah party this year. A big crowd, so much laughter and fun. I miss the chaos of children lighting a table filled with menorahs. I miss frying the latkes and sufganyot and getting splattered with oil, the trick of putting a piece of carrot intp the oil to keep it from getting too hot. I miss having to take a shower at the end of the night before going to bed because I am covered in oil. I miss our friends. Also, that penguin illustration tickles me to no end.

    Thank you, again!


  3. Beautiful post Kathy, thanks for spreading Hanukkah’s light! Thanks also for sharing my art and poem. Wishing you well!


  4. I’m finally catching up with WordPress for the week and I am so excited to have won Melissa Stoller’s book! It has been on my radar since Melissa first announced it. Thank you to you and Melissa!


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