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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

My menorah

I will bring my menorah to school to show the kindergartners after Thursday. I’ll need to clean the remains of wax from the brass so that students hold a beautiful object in their hands. Someone taught me that if you want to have students demonstrate respect for books, give them books in good condition that they will respect and love. My menorah falls into the well-loved category. 

There are so many Hanukkah titles, yet I find myself falling back to my Eric Kimmel favorites The Chanukkah Guest and Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. I’ve shared so many Hanukkah stories, tales, and illustrations with students, yet they ask for these two titles each year. Part of the fun is our lesson on traditions, religions, mythologies, and silly stories about the holiday that come from an author’s brain (fiction). Students love to identify the real elements versus the fictional elements. 

I realize that many of my teachers simply cross Hanukkah off their list of "expected holidays" to be PC since they rely upon their librarian to provide more exposure and information. Times are changing as more and more diversity rushes into the doors of my school. I’m no longer the only person in school raving about potato latkes and family memories for the holidays.


  1. I read The Magic Dreidels by Eric Kimmel las week to my students then we played a game of dreidel. My husband is Jewish, so we celebrate both holidays and I think that has given me another perspective to celebrating the holidays in schools. I had never even seen a menorah until I met and married my husband!

  2. DIANE CHEN says:

    I have encountered teachers over the years that don’t believe in discussing “other” holidays because it will confuse the children about “their own holiday.” These same teachers refuse to acknowledge Black History Month because they say their young students have no discrimination and they don’t want to create it.