THE LITTLEST CANDLE
A Hanukkah Story
By: Rabbi Kerry Olitzky and Rabbi Jesse Olitzky
Illustrated by: Jen Kostman
Published: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Kalaniot Books
For the first time, this father and son have joined their talents to write a picture book about Hanukkah for younger readers. The story of Hanukkah is told through the candles in a drawer waiting and hoping to be the very first candle to be lit.
Little Flicker is the smallest candle. He is always willing to help the others whether it is making sure the other candles eat first or to help get all the dust out of the corner. As the message of Hanukkah is shared and the other candles try to convince each other why they should be the first candle lit, they slowly realize there is one of them that truly has the spirit of the Shamash and should be the first candle.
Throughout the story of the candles the authors find a way to work in the meaning of Hanukkah and how it is celebrated. Many lessons are shared throughout the story including a reminder that even if you are small, you can still be capable of miracles.
The illustrations show the candles and their various personalities. Their life in the drawer includes eating dinner, brushing teeth, and primping to prepare for their big Hanukkah debut. The end of the book shares a full-page spread of a family celebrating Hanukkah complete with a cat playing with a dreidel and lots of delicious food.
This would make a perfect gift for a new family looking to incorporate Hanukkah traditions in their home. This is a book that can be read again and again every year.
This fall marks the launch of Kalaniot Books, a new imprint of Endless Mountains Publishing that aims to introduce young readers to the rich mosaic of Jewish culture and history with books by Jewish authors and artists around the world. Their books will offer families the tools to explore and celebrate the diversity of the Jewish community so that it can continue to flourish like the wild poppies, or “kalaniot,” that bloom in Israel every spring. There are four more children’s books planned for a March 2021 publication date under Kalaniot Books.
Rabbi Kerry Olitzky is the author of over 75 books and hundreds of articles in a variety of fields, including the popular new picture book, WHERE’S THE POTTY ON THIS ARK?
Kerry’s son, Rabbi Jesse Olitzky serves as a rabbi at Congregation Beth El in South Orange, New Jersey where he spends his Friday mornings developing and telling Shabbat stories to the children at the preschool there. This is his first children’s book.
Jen Kostman is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts. As a preschool teacher in Queens, New York, she happily reads books to her students as often as possible. She is thrilled to make her picture book debut with THE LITTLEST CANDLE.