Celebrating in December | Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa

By Monica C. RSS Thu, December 2, 2021

December is chockful of celebrations, with windows filled with lights and decorations, and a communal feeling of anticipation and joy.  

Find picture books for the holidays you celebrate and learn about other annual celebrations as well!


The Eight Knights of Hanukkah written by Leslie Kimmelman; illustrated by Galia Bernstein

It’s the last night of Hanukkah and everyone is doing their part for the big celebration, but a dragon called Dreadful has other ideas. He roams the countryside, interrupting the party preparations. Lady Sadie must call upon the Eight Knights of Hanukkah to perform deeds of awesome kindness and stupendous bravery to put an end to the dragon’s shenanigans. When Dreadful eats all the special donuts the baker made, Sir Lily helps the baker make more sufganiyot. Sir Alex makes a young lad a new dreidel after Dreadful scorched his original one. And when the Knights finally catch up to Dreadful, a funny surprise awaits them!

The Hanukkah Magic of Nate Gadol written by Arthur Levine; illustrated by Kevin Hawkes

ebook and video available from Overdrive

Nate Gadol is a great big spirit, with eyes as shiny as gold coins and a smile that is lantern bright. He can make anything last as long as it is needed, like a tiny bit of oil that must stretch for eight nights, a flower that needs to stay fresh to cheer up someone ailing, or a small lump of chocolate that grows to allow the Glasers to treat their children over the holiday. During a harsh winter when medicine is needed more than sweets, he spurs them to share what little they have with the O’Malleys.


May Your Life Be Delicosa written by Michael Gerhart; illustrated by Loris Lora

"What is the recipe?", I ask. Abuela laughs. "It is in my heart, Rosie. I use mis ojos, my eyes, to measure. Mis manos, my hands, to feel. Mi boca, my mouth, to taste. My abuela gave it to me, and I am giving it to you." Each year on Christmas Eve, Rosie’s abuela, mamá, tía, sister, and cousins all gather together in Abuela’s kitchen to make tamales—cleaning corn husks, chopping onions and garlic, roasting chilis, kneading cornmeal dough, seasoning the filling, and folding it all—and tell stories. Rosie learns from her abuela not only how to make a delicious tamale, but how to make a delicious life, filled with love, plenty of spice, and family.

Santa in the City written by Tiffany D. Jackson; illustrated by Reggie Brown

ebook available from Overdrive

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and Deja is worried that Santa might not be able to visit her—after all, as a city kid, she doesn’t have a chimney for him to come down and none of the parking spots on her block could fit a sleigh, let alone eight reindeer! But with a little help from her family, community, and Santa himself, Deja discovers that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in her city.


The People Remember written by Ibi Aanu Zoboi; illustrated by Loveis Wise

This book tells the journey of African descendants in America by connecting their history to the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It begins in Africa, where people were taken from their homes and sold. They spoke different languages and had different customs. Ultimately, all these people had to learn one common language and create a culture that combined their memories of home with new traditions that enabled them to thrive in this new land.

Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa written by Donna L. Washington; illustrated by Shane Evans

Li’l Rabbit wants to celebrate his favorite part of Kwanzaa, the feast of Karamu, but poor Granna Rabbit is sick in bed. Li’l Rabbit decides to go off and find a very special treat for Granna Rabbit so she can have the most wonderful Karamu. Along the way, he discovers the true meaning of Kwanzaa: the best gift is the gift of togetherness.

Be sure to check our catalog and Overdrive Kids eReading Room, for these titles and many more being added!

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We love your image of Kwanza, Christmas tree and menorah together. Can we use it to decorate a cake for a holiday party. We have a baker who will do it but needs to know that it is not subject to copyright. Thank you and happy holidays!
Kathy Martin - Vero Beach, FL
Friday, December 9, 2022