The Ninth Night of Hanukkah by Erica S. Perl and Shahar Kober

Hello, Erica S. Perl! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read. Thank you for stopping by to share The Ninth Night of Hanukkah’s cover. What ran through your head (or your heart) the first time you saw Shahar Kober’s illustration and Irene Vandervoort’s cover design?

Erica S. Perl: My heart must have skipped a beat when I saw it. I love everything about it: how it shows Max, Rachel, a menorah, and a single candle, and how the background is a warm cardboard-y color. This reflects that THE NINTH NIGHT OF HANUKKAH is a story about creativity and community… and cardboard (the kids even use a moving box to make a makeshift dreidel). P.S.: I also love the book’s case cover, which has a very special image of many individual hands holding up candles.

Oh, what a wonderful case cover. Thank you for sharing it. I'm curious, what inspired you to write The Ninth Night of Hanukkah?

Erica: A Hanukkah menorah has nine branches – one for each of the eight nights of the holiday plus an extra one for the shamash or “helper” candle (which lights the other candles). One year, my daughters asked why the shamash never gets a night of its own, not even after eight nights of working hard. My daughters’ observation lit the flame of inspiration for THE NINTH NIGHT OF HANUKKAH. I thought about all the ways in which people help each other on a daily basis: a neighbor lending eggs for a recipe, teachers and librarians helping kids learn to read and find great books, doctors and nurses helping us get and stay well. We all need help, helpers deserve our thanks, and we can all be helpers!

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Rachel and Max discover that the box with all of their Hannukah things got lost in a move and, without it, it doesn’t feel like Hanukkah. But the kindness and generosity their new neighbors offer every night gives Rachel and Max an idea for a creative way to express their appreciation.

Did you know that because Hanukkah observance is based on the Hebrew calendar, it moves around each year? In 2020, the ninth night of Hanukkah will be on Friday, December 18th. Also, did you know that you don’t have to be Jewish to celebrate the ninth night of Hanukkah?

Story is a flame that lights you from within. Share stories and be the shamash!

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me how to celebrate the Ninth Night of Hanukkah. It’s easy – make a list of the helpers in your life, tape individual candles to thank you cards, and let each of them know how their light helps to brighten your days. (Don’t be surprised if you get such a card from me, Mr. Schu!) You can do more if you want. Have a party! Make latkes! Play dreidel!

But whatever you do, please share photos and stories about your celebration with the hashtags #shamashnight and #ninthnightofhanukkah!

Look for The Ninth Night of Hanukkah on September 15, 2020.

Sterling's Description:

It’s Hanukkah, and Max and Rachel are excited to light the menorah in their family’s new apartment. But, unfortunately, their Hanukkah box is missing. So now they have no menorah, candles, dreidels, or, well, anything! Luckily, their neighbors are happy to help, offering thoughtful and often humorous stand-in items each night. And then, just as Hanukkah is about to end, Max and Rachel, inspired by the shamash (“helper”) candle, have a brilliant idea: they’re going to celebrate the Ninth Night of Hanukkah as a way to say thanks to everyone who’s helped them!


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