Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas

Children's Book Review and Discussion Guide

Title: Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas
Author: Pamela Ehrenberg
Illustrator: Anjan Sarkar
Publisher: Macmillan
Intended for Ages: 5-6 years
Jewish values:  L’dor vador, Hebrew words that literally mean “generation to generation.” In English, we call it “tradition.”

Synopsis

Sadie loves to climb. She will climb on anything. This annoys her big brother throughout his family’s Hanukkah preparations. While shopping for ingredients to make dosas (savory Indian pancakes), her big brother (whose name we never learn) discovers a musical way to talk Sadie down from the heights. His solution comes in handy a few more times – until the family is locked out of the house! Fortunately, Sadie’s climbing talents help everyone get inside and finally enjoy the delicious dosas they made.

Highlights

  • This story features a family from diverse backgrounds. Sadie’s big brother is aware that he is in the minority when he shares with us, “I’m pretty sure I’ve never seen anyone from Hebrew school at the Indian market. And I’m almost positive I’ve never seen anyone from the market dropping off kids at Hebrew school.” On the other hand, he is full of pride when he informs us, “Making Indian food that my mom ate as a kid for a Jewish holiday that my dad grew up with – that was a lucky combination.” The colorful illustrations of Indian culture joyously bring us into their home.
  • Traditions related to Hanukkah: Lighting a hanukkiyah, a Hanukkah menorah, and eating foods fried in oil is paramount, regardless of where your family comes from. This is because in the Hanukkah story, oil expected to last for one day lasted for eight!

Discussion Questions and Activities for Families

  • Sadie’s ability to climb turned out to be extremely helpful when the family was locked out. What hidden talents can you find in your family and friends?
  • Food is central to so many holidays. Have a conversation with your child about his/her and your favorite foods. Why are they special to you? The PJ Library® comments at the back of the book give ideas for foods to fry and try. Choose a new fried food recipe for Hanukkah and make it together!
  • Sadie dressed as a dreidel, and her mother strung paper dreidels in the windows. This Hanukkah, you can learn how to play dreidel and make some dreidel magnets.


Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas was mailed to 5- to 6-year-old children in November 2017 as part of their PJ Library® subscription. PJ Library® provides the gift of free Jewish books and music to families raising Jewish children between the ages of six months and 8 years. To sign up, enroll at www.pjlibrary.org/reformjudaism.

Laura Copel is the Union for Reform Judaism's coordinator of  Families with Young Children. An avid musician, she teaches at two synagogues and volunteers in the t’filah band and with the Sisterhood at Temple Israel of Northern Westchester in Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y., her home congregation. Laura grew up in the Boston area and resides north of Manhattan, where she and her husband raised three children.