In a world where technology rules and even baby toys seem to need batteries, there is something liberating about taking a step back and finding pleasure in a pursuit that doesn’t beep, chime or need to be plugged in. Take advantage of these long, cold winter nights that were just made for curling up with a great book and maybe even a marshmallow-studded mug of cocoa. Not only do books make great Chanukah presents, but you may just instill a love for the printed word in your kids, a gift that can last a lifetime!
Shimmy Shambone Will NOT Go to Bed by Yael Zoldan (Feldheim): This adorable book continues the adorable adventures of Shimmy Shambone, as this time, the irrepressible main character decides that he has more important things to do with his time than sleep. A great read both for little ones and whoever is reading to them, this book delivers on all counts, and is sure to be a bedtime favorite with youngsters everywhere.
Dovy Runs by Malky Weinstein (Judaica Press): Part of the LITE series that aims to encourage and inspire young readers, this engaging book shares the story of energetic, enthusiastic Dovy who never wants to slow down. Join Dovy as he learns that there is a time and a place for everything, even speed. Bonus points for the read along CD that accompanies this book.
Yael Gets A Guest, Yael’s Pesach Dance by Malky Weinstein (Judaica Press): Two more books in the LITE series which tackle subjects that can be potentially stressful: being a good host and Pesach preparations. Both offer simple explanations that can teach little ones how a different approach can make all the difference in the world and also come with read along CDs, letting kids enjoy these books on their own.
Spot the Difference Shabbos (Judaica Press): While this book targets readers aged 6 to 12, it is far more appropriate for the younger set who will love comparing the ten sets of Shabbos related pictures and spotting the differences. Extra features include hidden Shabbos candles in every picture as well as a page of fun facts about Shabbos.
If I Went to the Moon by Sara Blau (Hachai): What would you pack if you were taking a trip to outer space? A young boy realizes just how many mitzvos are part of his daily life as he contemplates a trip to the moon in this sweet book with ultra-durable laminated pages.
Avigail by Chana Zauderer (Feldheim): Imagine the classic children’s book Madeline, only with a Jewish heroine who lives with her parents and four older sisters. Avigail, who as the youngest in her family always goes last and is forever wearing hand me down clothing, learns the lesson of being satisfied with your lot, no matter what it may be. Engagingly written and just as charming as the original, Avigail teaches little girls (and boys!) about true happiness.
Let’s Go to the Park by Rikki Benenfeld (Hachai): A simple (and thankfully laminated) book whose minimal wording is perfect for toddlers and younger children incorporates lessons on playground safety, listening to adults and sharing. An enjoyable book that never crosses the line from practical to preachy.
The Aleph-Bais Trip on the Aleph-Bais Ship by Chani Altein (Hachai): Another laminated winner, just recently translated to Yiddish, this fun adventure in well-written rhyme is a great introduction to aleph bais for pre-schoolers who will find themselves picking out their favorite letters in no time.
Chaim Ephraim and the Shabbos Guests by Lori Holtzman (Feldheim): Poor Chaim finds his dreams of eating his mother’s incredible cholent getting rapidly derailed as uninvited guests seem to arrive in droves for their Shabbos meal, leaving the freckle faced youngster worried about his meal prospects. Not surprisingly, Chaim gets to enjoy his cholent while learning the importance welcoming guests and sharing.