From our librarian, Thea Crook, two recommendations for Chanukah books for young readers:
Without overtly combining Thanksgiving and Chanukah, Gracie's Night by Lynn Taylor Gordon is about being grateful and thus works for both holidays. Most beautifully, it is written in verse. When I read this two our first graders, halfway into the book a boy said, "This book rhymes!" That, to me, is a sign that it is very well done because the language isn't repetitious and belabored. The children were riveted.
In One Candle by Eve Bunting, a family develops its very own ritual for Chanukah to remember a relative who died in the Holocaust.
Obviously, making a mess is fun. And so is creating something beautiful, like these rain sticks the 3rd and 4th graders were recently made in Art class.
So what is there to messy art except the mess? "Messy art," says Art teacher Debbie Lekousis, "makes art a sensual experience. You're in it with your whole being. There's the joy of the tactile experience, getting your hands full of paint. There's the squishiness, the feeling of the gooey paint between the fingers, the sliding up and down in the wet mush." The smell of the paint climbs up your nose, and with rain sticks, there's also the pleasant tinkling and popping sound of the beads inside the tube.
In addition, in this case, messy art is also a communal experience as kids got into the fray together. With this kind of messy project, art has a physical impact as well as an emotional one. Thankfully for the parents, the mess stays at school with most of the splattering caught by smocks, and only the pretty rain sticks come home.