images-1Since I don’t usually write over the weekends (because most of my waking hours are spent at the book store), this is my last chance to recommend Hanukkah books for this year. It’s a Miracle! A Hanukkah Storybook by Stephanie Spinner and illustrated by Jill McElmurry (Aladdin, $6.99)  has a dual function: it tells a story of a boy who is becoming an adult and also demonstrates the importance of passing down the family stories. Owen has finally achieved the designation “Official Candle Lighter” of his family’s Menorah. In his honor, every night, his cowboy-boot wearing grandmother tells Owen the story of a miracle: a girl who wanted to be a rabbi, a man who asked for prayers from his Jewish community when his wife was sick, a boy who had the power to make everyone laugh, a girl who desperately wanted a horse. Each story demonstrates how people can overcome obstacles. The stories seem vaguely familiar to Owen and as he sits around the table with his extended family on the final night he sees each of them in a whole new light. The stories are meaningful, but brief. There are two, however, that seem a little out of sync with the rest: a boy who wanted to act like a baby, and an alien who comes to town. Surely meant to inject a bit of humor, these two stories fail to add anything substantial to an otherwise engaging book. A book that will hopefully inspire other parents to tell stories about their own family’s miracles.

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