Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles

Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles

By David A. Adler

Illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler


Hardcover; 32pp $17.95

A 2016 Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Young Readers



Tzedekah in the Hanukkah Season;

Finding a friend in unexpected places

Sara watches from her apartment window as her mom goes to work. One day, she sees an old man pick up a bruised apple from the discarded pile next to Sol’s Market. Why would he do that?  She wonders if he’s hungry, as she eats her own breakfast. She wonders if he’s lonely, as she shares Shabbat dinner with Mom and Grandma.

As Hanukkah approaches, a season of light and hope, Sara discovers that tzedakah can be as bright and colorful as a Hanukkah cookie with sprinkles.

About the Author

David A. Adler is the author of more than 250 books for young readers, including the popular Cam Jansen and Young Cam Jansen series, and many books on Jewish topics. He lives in Woodmere, New York. www.DavidAAdler.com,www.CamJansen.com

About Apples & Honey Press

Apples & Honey Press brings together the best authors and illustrators from North America and Israel to create memorable stories for children that illuminate the values of family, community, having fun, and being the best we can be.

Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles Reviews

Category: Picture Books

A little girl watches a poor man take a bruised apple from the market’s discard pile and finds a way to help him.

Sara’s keen observation from her apartment window makes her wonder if the man is hungry all the time and if he might need a friend. In school, she keeps thinking about him, and at snack time, she saves her cookie to leave by the discard fruit bin the next day. At the oneg Shabbat after services on Friday, Sara recognizes the man eating challah and drinking grape juice. She then creates and leaves a Hanukkah goody bag complete with a homemade menorah, latkes, and cookies. When the rabbi tells her that his name is Morris and that he lives alone and helps each Friday with setting up for the reception, Sara then decides to invite him for a Shabbat and Hanukkah dinner. The importance of tzedakah, or giving to those less fortunate, is the overlying theme in this gentle story about generosity and caring for others, something to be mindful of each Shabbat and on Hanukkah. Full-bleed paintings show exaggerated and elongated cartoon-style figures living in an ethnically diverse urban neighborhood. Many scenes are viewed from below, offering a child’s perspective, and light and shadows from a sunny window are also some of the many artistic details that give this narrative depth.

A sweet and compassionate introduction to an important Jewish custom.

- Kirkus Reviews

Category: Picture Books

Every morning Sara watches the street outside her window, noticing an old man who takes bruised fruit from the free bin. Grandma explains he is probably poor, so Sara begins adding her own donations: sandwiches, drinks, and Hanukkah cookies. Later, after services at their synagogue, Sara and her family are introduced to the man (Morris Berger) and invite him to a Hanukkah Shabbat dinner at their house. Despite the holiday-themed title, Adler's gentle story is mostly about the Jewish custom of tzedakah, giving to the poor. Sara involves her teacher and classmates in her charitable efforts, and Adler subtly makes the point that recipients like to feel that they, too, can contribute, as Morris does when he teaches Sara to juggle. Ebbeler's richly hued artwork is filled with details of Sara's home, classroom, and neighborhood, and a note to families explains more about Hanukkah customs. 

- Kay Weisman, Booklist Review

Category: Children's Bookwatch

"Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles" is a religious educational preschool story that teaches the true meaning of giving tzedakah, or assistance to people in need. Filled with jubilant, "breathing' color illustrations that lift the action off the page, "Hanukkah Cookies with Sprinkles" begins hopefully with the excitement of a young girl eagerly awaiting Hanukkah. Looking out her apartment window on a fall city landscape, she notices an old man who finds a spoiled discarded apple and eats it. Why would he do that, she asks her Grandma. Grandma answers, "That man is probably poor and looking for something to eat." The girl thinks of the hungry man through out her day, and she saves a cookie for her mother to leave for the hungry man next day on her way to work. The girl watches through the window as the man collects his cookie in a bag and joyously spins it on his fingertip before eating it. The girl continues to talk about this man to her teacher, where she learns about tzedakah, or giving to someone who has less than you do. The next day the girl helps assemble a lunch bag of cookies, juice, and a sandwich to leave for the man. The girl continues studying at school, preparing for Hanukkah. She crafts a beautiful menorah of tiles, bottle caps, paint and glue. At home, the girl helps make latkes and Hanukkah cookies, and plays dreidel with Grandma. The cookies are in the shapes of menorahs and dreidels, and covered with sprinkles. Because the girl already has a beautiful menorah from last year, she decides to make tzedakah and share her new menorah and cookies with the hungry man. Later, the girl asks her mother to invite the man to dinner, because he cried with joy at the beauty of her gift. Even though the family does not know this man, their rabbi does. He introduces Mr. Morris Berger to the family, and the girl's mother invites Mr. Berger to Shabbat and Hanukkah dinner. What a glorious time the girl and her family have with Morris, who teaches the girl to juggle. Traditions of Hanukkah are interwoven with this charming story of giving tzedakah for children ages 4-8.

- James A. Cox, The Midwest Book Review