Posted by: Kathy Temean | December 11, 2020

Book Giveaway: A DREIDEL IN TIME by Marcia Berneger

Marcia Berneger has written a new picture book, A DREIDEL IN TIME, illustrated by Beatriz CASTRO and publish by Kar-Ben Publishing. Marcia has agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner.

All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Marcia and Beatriz.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Devorah and Benjamin are excited to open their Hanukkah present from Bubbe and Zayde, which turns out to be an ugly old dreidel. It’s a big disappointment―until the dreidel transports them out of modern Los Angeles to join the ancient Maccabees! Once they convince a suspicious Judah Maccabee and their new friends that they’ve arrived to help, they use what they know about the Hanukkah story from Hebrew school to aid the Maccabees in their battle against Antiochus. The kids know that the miracle of Hanukkah relies on finding the special oil for the Temple menorah, but where can it be?


Writing A Dreidel in Time, or any book, really, takes a lot of planning. Once I knew I wanted to retell the story of Hanukkah in a different and entertaining way, I listed the key events in the story, then researched every aspect of those events. I discovered some amazing things. First of all, the Greek soldiers rode on elephants! I also discovered that many of the tactics used by the Maccabees, the small Jewish army defending the fleeing villagers, were also used almost 2000 years later by George Washington as he battled the British soldiers. But how could I draw readers into this story?

I created modern-day characters, Devorah and Robbie. They would start the story as kids who thought Hanukkah was only important because they’d get gifts from everyone. But, I needed to get them back in time to when the actual Hanukkah story took place. How would they get there?

A magic dreidel provided the perfect portal. A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top, with a different Hebrew letter on each face. The letters represent things you do when you play the dreidel game. With each spin of the magic dreidel, the characters are transported to a different part of the Hanukkah story.

The first spin produces the letter Shin, a bad spin in the game. It sends Devorah and Robbie back in time to the beginning of the Hanukkah story. Using their Sunday School knowledge, they help the Maccabees prepare for the upcoming Greek soldiers’ attack.

The letter hey turns up on the second spin. In the game, this spin is half good. The magic dreidel brings Devorah and Robbie about half-way through the story. The Maccabees are losing. The siblings’ knowledge of American history saves the day again. And so it goes.

A sprinkling of danger is woven into the story when Robbie is captured by the enemy. Devorah and two young Maccabee friends must figure out how to free him, while saving the Jewish people from certain defeat.

There is even a message threading through this tapestry of adventure. By the end of the story, Devorah and Robbie have a better understanding of the true meaning of Hanukkah.


Marcia is a retired teacher who taught elementary school children for over three decades. She has worked mainly with first and second graders. Many of the characters in her stories are modeled after students she’s taught. She has written about fidgety students, childhood worries, and even mysteries. Fractured fairy tales and nursery rhymes are favorite themes and some of her longer stories even combine elements for rollicking mystery-adventures into worlds populated by the likes of Miss Diddle, Miss Muffet and even the Big Bad Wolf. Watch out for that hairy spider!


Beatriz Castro born on September 19, 1985, in Logroño, La Rioja, Spain. As  a little girl, she was always drawing, and writing stories.  After graduating from the School of Arts in Logroño in 2008.  Beatriz  embarked on a career as a professional illustrator. Her illustrations have appeared on covers and in books produced by international publishers.

Thank you Marcia for sharing your book and journey with us. I love that this story will help children realize that Hanukkah is less about gifts and more about con­fronting issues of right and wrong. Beatriz did a great job with the illustrations.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Mazel tov, Marcia and Beatriz! (I’m signed for the emails as well.)


  2. I can tell I will learn fascinating information in this book! Fun that the dreidel in this story is for time travel! Congratulations!

    I will tweet this and I follow by email. 🙂


  3. This is so wonderful. I know lots of little ones who will love this book. (Oh, and a bunch of not so little ones also!) Thanks for sharing. I follow by email and am sharing on Twitter and Facebook. Congrats, Marcia!


  4. I enjoyed reading about how this book took shape! congrats!


  5. Sounds lovely, can’t wait to read it!


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