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Hanukkah Haiku by Harriet Ziefert
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Hanukkah Haiku

by Harriet Ziefert

Other authors: Karla Gudeon (Illustrator)

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“Hanukkah Haiku” is the story of the lighting of Menorah, told in a series of Haiku’s. Each night, a candle is lit and a Jewish tradition is fulfilled by the family, such as the Shammash, dreidels, and frying latkes. It is a short book, composing of 8 haikus, but it uses Jewish terms for their ceremonies that are new to many readers. I enjoyed learning these terms and what they mean in the Jewish faith. The family portrayed are dressed in traditional Jewish attire and the pages are cut in a way that reveals the lit candles one at a time as you flip through the pages. At the end, there is an information page giving detailed context to the traditions in the haikus. This book is also a chance to introduce students to a new type of poem, the Haiku. I would recommend this book for K-2nd grade.
  btadde1 | Nov 15, 2016 |
I loved this story for many reasons. This story opened up the minds of readers to a different religion, Judaism. I liked that the story told the history and cultural facts of Hanukkah and the Jewish religion in a fun way. The book was composed of 8 haikus about Hanukkah that told the reader all about the holiday. I love that students will not only be exposed to a new culture but also a new form of writing, poetry. One more thing I loved about this story was the intense, colorful illustrations on every page. The illustrations fit perfectly with the text and enhanced the story greatly. I really liked how colorful and engaging the pictures were, especially on the pages about cooking (pages 4&5). The big idea in this story was just to tell the story and culture associated with Hanukkah in a more interesting way. I liked this book, ( )
  CasieProdoehl | Sep 15, 2015 |
This story stood out to me on the shelves because I am actually teaching a lesson about haikus in my internship next week! This is a poetry picture book for students 1st through 2nd grade. This was a great book describing all of the eight nights of Hanukkah, all in haikus. What I really think is awesome about this book is the formatting of the pages. The illustrations are very fun and colorful, and would definitely catch the eye of a young reader, and it used layering page flaps that lit the candles one page at a time on a big menorah. I thought this was a really cool way to demonstrate the lighting the candles tradition throughout the story. I also liked that they incorporated additional aspects of Jewish traditions throughout the story, like food and language. The whole story is told through poetry, which I believe could leave some readers unclear of some information about Hanukkah, but luckily the book provides an excerpt after the book that summarizes why Jewish people light the candles on Hanukkah, what their tradition represents, and even some prayers they say along with the translations. I thought this was an awesome example of a multicultural text, and definitely gave some insight to a different culture! The central message of this book is informing students of the Hanukkah tradition. ( )
  BeckieZimmerman | Apr 8, 2014 |
This book of haiku won't redefine the genre, but it works as a simple introduction to the poetic form. ( )
  matthewbloome | May 19, 2013 |
Harriet Ziefert and Karla Gudeon - the author and artist who created the absolutely gorgeous One Red Apple and Passover: Celebrating Now, Remembering Then - made their picture-book debut, as a team, with this holiday title, which presents eight haiku, one for each night of Hanukkah. Just as with their other two titles, Gudeon's illustrations here are simply breathtaking, with a vivid color palette and a "folksy" style somewhere between a quilt and a mosaic. I loved all the details of art and design: the beautiful colors, the parade of objects and people floating across the page, the thick paper itself, the "stepped" pages leading up to the final night of Hanukkah, the overall sense of movement and enthusiasm.

Unfortunately, while the illustrations were top-notch - everything I had hoped, in fact - I found the narrative utterly unconvincing, and almost unrecognizable, as haiku. Harsh though it may be, Hanukkah Haiku would have been a better book, if it has been wordless! I can't help but feel disappointed, given my enthusiastic response to the two other books, but I suppose it's a hopeful sign that this was the first Ziefert/Gudeon venture, and that subsequent books saw an improvement. In any case, despite the less-than-stellar text, this is still a book that can be appreciated for the artwork! I've been poking around Gudeon's website, and see that she creates ketubot (gorgeously illuminated Jewish marriage contracts)! Now that would be something to have on the wall! ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Apr 7, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Harriet Ziefertprimary authorall editionscalculated
Gudeon, KarlaIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The Gabrielov Family 2008
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Here's a cultural crossover that pays off: a traditionally Japanese poetic form used to celebrate the eight nights of Hanukkah. There's one haiku for each night, and stepped pages add one candle to the menorah every time the page is turned. The simple poetry is set off perfectly by Karla Gudeon's vibrant, freewheeling artwork. A perfect gift, or good to reread each year, Hanukkah Haiku is a jubilant, unforgettable journey through the eight nights of Hanukkah.
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Presents a haiku for each of the eight days of Hanukkah.

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