Thank you, Alva Sachs, for gifting me this book to review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day.
Today we began packing up the last of the holidays in our house, saying goodbye to the tangible parts of a beautiful season. As I sat down earlier this afternoon to revisit Dancing Dreidels written by Alva Sachs and illustrated by Patricia Krebs, I was reminded that the gifts of the season can last long after the last candle is blown out on the menorah or final ornament removed from the Christmas tree. The magic that remains of the holiday season can carry us through the calendar year until the holiday season is once again upon us. Gifts that keep giving, gifts such as love, fellowship, family and the support of loved ones. In our home we celebrate Christmas but in our lineage are family members who celebrated Hanukkah. This book has inspired me to ask (more) questions and to listen to more stories about the parts of our family story that are unfamiliar.
Vividly illustrated, Dancing Dreidels is about a girl named Rebecca and her four favorite (and so darling!) dreidels which were her mother’s when she was a little girl. Each year Rebecca excitedly awaits, for Hanukkah a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights, in fact, she is so excited she begins to prepare over a month in advance. Rebecca decides to practice with her dreidels each of them given a name; Sheila Shin, Gail Gimmel, Harry Hey and Neil Nun. Only one of them is unable to dance. And at night while everyone is asleep, Sheila who had been unable to dance alongside her fellow dreidels, sneaks out of the box to practice dancing.
Soon Hanukkah arrives and Rebecca and her family gather together to celebrate. After food and prayers comes the time to dance and sing which meant the dreidels have their moment too. And this time, they all joyfully dance, even Sheila whose willingness to keep trying paid off. The night ends with tea, jelly donuts and, perhaps best of all, hugs and smiles. Later, while back in their box the other dreidels express their excitement for Sheila, who they believed in all along.
At the heart of this story is the importance of family connection and a message of love is woven throughout. The dreidels that were passed down to and now cherished by Rebecca, the gathering of family over a meal rich with flavors, tradition and love. And then there are the four dancing dreidels, one of them who found the courage to get back up each time she fell, championed by her fellow dreidels.
At the end of the book readers will have the opportunity to learn about Hanukkah and how to play the dreidel game although, long before that you’ll be reminded of the fact that we can learn beautiful lessons not only from our own culture but the many cultures that are all around us; lessons that can unite us and bring us closer together. The Dancing Dreidels helps readers have a better understanding of Hanukkah by coupling a sweet story with facts, definitions and a “how to.” Furthermore, the Dancing Dreidels shows us that we all may have more in common than we might realize.
Later this year when we pull out our holiday books in anticipation of the season, we’ll be pulling out this one too. We’ll usher in the season with family, fun, food and tradition. Like in the story, love will be woven throughout the moments that come together to create a magical season. Love. A common thread that binds us all together no matter what it is we’ll be celebrating.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board!
Medallion Level Sponsors
Super Platinum: Make A Way Media
BRONZE: Charlesbridge Publishing, Judy Dodge Cummings, Author Gwen Jackson, Kitaab World, Language Lizard – Bilingual & Multicultural Resources in 50+ Languages, Lee & Low Books, Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, Redfin, Author Gayle H. Swift, T.A. Debonis-Monkey King’s Daughter, TimTimTom Books, Lin Thomas, Sleeping Bear Press/Dow Phumiruk, Vivian Kirkfield,
MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Author Sponsors on board
Author Janet Balletta, Author Kathleen Burkinshaw, Author Josh Funk, Chitra Soundar, One Globe Kids – Friendship Stories, Sociosights Press and Almost a Minyan, Karen Leggett, Author Eugenia Chu, CultureGroove Books, Phelicia Lang and Me On The Page, L.L. Walters, Author Sarah Stevenson, Author Kimberly Gordon Biddle, Hayley Barrett, Sonia Panigrah, Author Carolyn Wilhelm, Alva Sachs and Dancing Dreidels, Author Susan Bernardo, Milind Makwana and A Day in the Life of a Hindu Kid, Tara Williams, Veronica Appleton, Author Crystal Bowe, Dr. Claudia May, Author/Illustrator Aram Kim, Author Sandra L. Richards, Erin Dealey, Author Sanya Whittaker Gragg, Author Elsa Takaoka, Evelyn Sanchez-Toledo, Anita Badhwar, Author Sylvia Liu, Feyi Fay Adventures, Author Ann Morris, Author Jacqueline Jules, CeCe & Roxy Books, Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace, LEUYEN PHAM, Padma Venkatraman, Patricia Newman and Lightswitch Learning, Shoumi Sen, Valerie Williams-Sanchez and Valorena Publishing, Traci Sorell, Shereen Rahming, Blythe Stanfel, Christina Matula, Julie Rubini, Paula Chase, Erin Twamley, Afsaneh Moradian, Lori DeMonia, Claudia Schwam, Terri Birnbaum/ RealGirls Revolution, Soulful Sydney, Queen Girls Publications, LLC
We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.
Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts
A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, Spanish Playground
TWITTER PARTY Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual @McChildsBookDay Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. TONS of prizes and book bundles will be given away during the party ( a prize every 5 minutes!). GO HERE for more details.
FREE RESOURCES From MCBD
Free Multicultural Books for Teachers: http://bit.ly/1kGZrta
Free Empathy Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/teacher-classroom-empathy-kit/
Hashtag: Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.