Posted by: Kathy Temean | September 29, 2022

Book Giveaway: HANUKKAH NIGHTS by Amalia Hoffman

Amalia Hoffman has written and illustrated a new board book, HANUKKAH NIGHTS and published by Kar-Ben Press on October 1st. Amalia has agreed to send a copy to the one lucky winner in the US.

Just leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Let me know other things you did 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 Amalia.

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. If you want to make sure you don’t miss seeing that you won, please click “Notify Me of Follow-Up Comments by Email” box. I will leave a comment in reply if you win the book. Thanks!


Follow along as, one by one, eight bright colors light up the dark Hanukkah nights. Sponge or spatter, scrape or stamp—each light is painted in a unique style. Learn how to paint Hanukkah lights in different textures, too!


My book journey began in 2019 when Chris Barash, chair of the PJ Library Book Selection Committee, came across All Colors, a board book I had written and illustrated. The illustrations were created with chalk, drawn over black sandpaper. The bright chalk colors set against a stark black background were very striking. Chris asked if I could create a similar book with a Jewish theme.

Chris and I started brainstorming. What kind of book could this be? What theme could work in this technique and format? We talked about different possibilities: maybe a Jewish holiday book? A concept book? A book about a menorah?

I remember how much I enjoyed the Hanukkah holiday when I grew up in Jerusalem. I loved lighting the colorful candles and watching the flames. They flickered with yellows, oranges and tints of blues, purples and maroons. Our neighbors used to place their menorahs on the windowsills, so when I stood on the balcony of our 4th floor walk-up apartment, I could see dozens of flames in the dark. The sight of the glowing flames became more magical as the nights progressed until the 8th night, when all the menorahs were fully lit.

I envisioned a Hanukkah counting board book where, as the child turns the pages, more lights would appear against the black background, just as they did in my memories of Hanukkah in Jerusalem.

I began playing with different techniques and supplies that kids use while creating art: doodling with crayons, spattering with a toothbrush, dipping a finger in paint and stamping, brushing wet paint and scratching the surface with a comb. I scanned my experiments and turned each texture into a glowing flame for the menorah in my book. For the line drawing in the last few pages, I used white chalk.

The book turned into a Hanukkah counting book and also an art book because as the readers turn the pages, they realize that it is a little child who painted all the flames.

At the end of the story, the artist is in bed and the story ends with,

Candle lights

Hanukkah nights

Nighty night…

Sleep tight!

This ending allows parents to put their little ones to sleep during Hanukkah nights or any other night.

When I felt that the general idea for Hanukkah Nights was solid, I sent my book proposal to Chris, who shared it with the members of the PJ book selection committee. I was delighted to be honored with the PJ Library Author/Illustrator Incentive Award.

Joni Sussman from kar-Ben Publishing acquired the book. The clever team at Kar-Ben suggested to add a spread showing how each texture was created so parents or teachers can experiment in making art with the simple tools I used.

Amaila, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. Young toddlers will love the simple line drawings and vidid colors against the stark black bakground. The easy text will help them learn the words in the book. Look like this would be a good holiday gift for a young toddler. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. What a stunning presentation! I love the idea of the lights appearing one by one against the dark. Beautiful work!


  2. Such a beautiful book! I am a subscriber and am sharing on Facebook and twitter.


  3. So beautiful! Love it, Amalia!

    I follow by email and I tweeted this post, Kathy. 🙂


  4. Cute author copy unboxed “unboxing” video! I love the colors against the black background. I’m an email subscriber and shared on pinterest, facebook, tumblr, and twitter.


  5. Love this and can’t wait to share this book and these art ideas! Congratulations, Amalia!


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