cover image J Is for Janucá

J Is for Janucá

Melanie Romero, illus. by Cassie Gonzales. Lil’ Libros, $19.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-9480-6642-6

English speakers may quibble about whether to start the Hebrew transliteration of Hanukkah with a Ch or an H, but Spanish presents no such dilemma: without question, Janucá describes the subject of this bilingual abecedarian. Holiday-oriented descriptions—presented first in English, then in Spanish—include those for Aceite/Oil, Frito/Fried, and Velas/Candles, and entries appear for L and Ll as well as N and Ñ. Though some words refer more generally to Judaism than to Hanukkah observance (for Estrella de David/Star of David, Romero writes, “The Star of David is a worldwide recognized symbol of modern Jewish identity”), Gonzales’s bold-hued colorblock art intersperses graphical presentations with naïf-styled vignettes of an extended family, portrayed with brown skin. For Ocaso/Sunset, when “families gather around the menorah to light the candles,” the illustrator zooms into eight enumerated orange candles glowing with yellow flames, emblematic of the warm images in this primer. Ages 4–10. (Oct.)