11 Must-Read Middle Grade Books for Hanukkah

Get ready for Hanukkah with chapter books and graphic novels celebrating themes of light and darkness, bravery, and courage. Looking for more middle-grade book recommendations? Visit pjourway.org.

Books About Hanukkah

How I Saved Hanukkah by Amy Goldman Koss

Recommended for ages 9 to 11

Marla Feinstein is the only Jewish kid in her class, and every December she feels down as her classmates begin their holiday preparations. Marla decides to take matters into her own hands and make Hanukkah the biggest celebration in town.


Like a Maccabee by Barbara Bietz

Recommended for ages 8 and up

Only one thing stands between victory for Ben and his soccer team: a school bully who torments Ben. Feeling misunderstood by those who love him most, Ben finds an unexpected friend in his grandfather.


Penina Levine is a Potato Pancake by Rebecca O'Connell

Recommended for ages 10 and up

Penina Levine is not looking forward to Hanukkah break. Her annoying sister is driving her crazy, her favorite teacher is leaving, and her best friend is headed out of town. Could it possibly get worse?


Books About Bravery and Courage

A Time to Be Brave by Joan Betty Stuchner

Recommended for ages 9 to 11

Ten-year-old David and his family live in Copenhagen in 1943, three years into the Nazi occupation. Life is complicated and a bit dangerous, as David’s family is Jewish and many of their friends and acquaintances are involved with the Resistance.


Black Radishes by Susan Lynn Meyer

Recommended for ages 10 and up

When the Germans arrive in France, Gustave and his family flee to the countryside, leaving his best friends, Marcel and Jean Paul, back in Nazi-occupied Paris. Can Gustave help his friends?


Hidden by Loïc Dauvillier

Recommended for ages 10 and up

Dounia is now a grandmother. But when she was a little girl in France, she had to hide from the Nazis. This is her story.


Jesse’s Star by Ellen Schwartz

Recommended for ages 9 to 11

Jesse has a deadline for a class project about his ancestors. Poking around his attic for inspiration, he finds a Star of David necklace belonging to Yossi Mendelsohn, his great-great grandfather. Jesse slips on the necklace and immediately becomes Yossi, living in a Russian village called Braslav in the late 18th century.


Jordan and the Dreadful Golem by Karen Goldman

Recommended for ages 9 and up

This supernatural tale will appeal to kids who enjoy fantasy and science fiction novels. The major themes of this book explore bravery and self-acceptance.


Rabbi Harvey vs. the Wisdom Kid by Steve Sheinkin

Recommended for ages 9 and up

In this third book of the Rabbi Harvey series, Rabbi Harvey, the non-violent leader of the fictional town of Elk Spring, Colorado, is up against a whole team of bad guys. Rabbi Harvey must use his wit, bravery, and Jewish wisdom to save himself, his friend Abigail, and the town from ruin.


The Long Trail Home by Kiersi Burkhart and Amber J. Keyser

Recommended for ages 10 and up

Twelve-year-old Rivka is going through a difficult time. Ever since her community synagogue, Havurah Shalom, was defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, she’s been afraid of identifying as a Jew. Her parents don’t understand why she’s acting out at home and refusing to go through with her upcoming bat mitzvah. They send her to Quartz Creek Ranch for the summer with the hope that she can turn it around. At the ranch, Rivka meets Cat, Sam, and Lauren, each of whom have their own bag of troubles. She learns to ride, and, eventually, finds her own inner strength to deal with the past and look forward to her future.


The Six-Day Hero by Tammar Stein

Recommended for ages 11 and up

This coming-of-age novel vividly captures the spirit of Israel during the Six-Day War through the eyes of twelve-year-old Motti, who just a few meters from the Jordanian border. Motti dreams of playing the hero and is frustrated that he’s too young to help, until the reality of war teaches him that courage and daring are not exactly synonymous.


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