Hanukkah at Valley Forge Info

Book and Ebook Reviews of the Best Kids' Books - Read over 133 reviews for Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky,Greg Harlin and see what others have to say about this book before you download. Read&Download Hanukkah at Valley Forge by Stephen Krensky,Greg Harlin Online Author:Stephen Krensky,Greg Harlin Formats:Hardcover,Paperback Publication Date:Sep 14, 2006


A soldier tells George Washington the miraculous story of
how a ragtag army of Jewish soldiers defeated a much larger force of
powerful Greeks, a tale that provides just the kind of inspiration the
General needs. ?Quietly beautiful watercolor illustrations draw a visual
distinction between the frigid blue Pennsylvania night and the golden
light of ancient Israel, which is further reflected in the warm glow of
the Hanukkah candles.? ?School Library
Journal


Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.15

133 Ratings

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for Hanukkah at Valley Forge:

4

Nov 16, 2018

A fictionalized account of true events, Hanukkah at Valley Forge is the story of a meeting between General George Washington, surveying his troops at their camp in Valley Forge, in December of 1777, and a solitary Jewish soldier, observing Hanukkah in his hut one bitterly cold night. Curious about this ritual he had interrupted, Washington asks the soldier - an unnamed Jewish immigrant from Poland, and a passionate believer in the American cause - its meaning. The story which the soldier A fictionalized account of true events, Hanukkah at Valley Forge is the story of a meeting between General George Washington, surveying his troops at their camp in Valley Forge, in December of 1777, and a solitary Jewish soldier, observing Hanukkah in his hut one bitterly cold night. Curious about this ritual he had interrupted, Washington asks the soldier - an unnamed Jewish immigrant from Poland, and a passionate believer in the American cause - its meaning. The story which the soldier unfolds, about the ancient struggle of the Maccabees to liberate Israel from the rule of a far-off king, and the miracle which followed, strike a chord with the general, giving him faith that America too will triumph...

Although it is impossible to know whether the events chronicled here actually unfolded as described, or what effect they had on George Washington, we do know that he encountered a Jewish soldier at Valley Forge, and heard an explanation of Hanukkah from him. He said as much, a year later, when a guest at a dinner given by Michael Hart, a Jewish merchant then living in Eaton, Pennsylvania. This interpretation of that statement, by Stephen Krensky, while perhaps not factual, in the strictest sense of the word, strikes me as being true, highlighting the similarities between two very different struggles for freedom. The accompanying watercolor illustrations, by Greg Harlin, have a lovely, luminous quality to them, and are well suited to both stories unfolded here - the one from ancient times, and the one in 1777.

All in all, Hanukkah at Valley Forge is a lovely little book, which I would wholeheartedly recommend, not just to young readers celebrating Hanukkah, but to those with an interest in American history. ...more
4

Dec 02, 2010

Stories such as this, those based on fact, often drive me nuts because I want to know what is real and what is fictionalized. The authors note in the back of the book did an adequate job of satisfying my curiosity. I just love the idea in this story that George Washington ran into a Jewish solder at Valley Forge, a man who was celebrating the first night of Hanukkah at the time. That Washington did know what Hanukkah was and respected religious freedom is very heartening. I also love that Stories such as this, those based on fact, often drive me nuts because I want to know what is real and what is fictionalized. The author’s note in the back of the book did an adequate job of satisfying my curiosity. I just love the idea in this story that George Washington ran into a Jewish solder at Valley Forge, a man who was celebrating the first night of Hanukkah at the time. That Washington did know what Hanukkah was and respected religious freedom is very heartening. I also love that Washington’s actual words were fit into what he says in this story. Since he kept no diary, that’s the best that could be done, and it was sufficient for me.

Most of the story is the soldier’s accounting for Washington of how the first Hanukkah came to be. It’s a bit more of a religious history lesson than a storybook story, even though this incident is historical fiction and not history.

The illustrations are so perfect. The way light is used and the facial expressions in the Valley Forge photos were wondrous and the pictures did their job; just viewing them made me feel cold. the illustrations from the time of the first Hanukkah had a whole other authentic feel.

This is an inspiring story of the founding of America, religious freedom and tolerance, and of the celebration of Hanukkah. ...more
5

Feb 23, 2019

Hanukkah at Valley Forge is a fascinating tale of General George Washington learning about Hanukkah from one of his soldiers during the revolutionary war. This book would be a great way to teach children about the history of Hanukkah, as well as to teach them about people from different religious backgrounds respecting each others beliefs. This book is historical fiction, and I think it would be best used in grades 3 and 4.

I could use this book in my classroom during a unit on religious Hanukkah at Valley Forge is a fascinating tale of General George Washington learning about Hanukkah from one of his soldiers during the revolutionary war. This book would be a great way to teach children about the history of Hanukkah, as well as to teach them about people from different religious backgrounds respecting each other’s beliefs. This book is historical fiction, and I think it would be best used in grades 3 and 4.

I could use this book in my classroom during a unit on religious holidays or religions around the world. If I could have a unit where one day was spent on each religion, I think this one would be a great book to teach kids about Hanukkah and launch a lesson about the Jewish religion and culture.

I could also use this book during a unit on the revolutionary war. We teach students that colonists came to America for freedom of religion, but often we only focus on different denominations of Christianity. I think showing that Jewish people from countries other than England came here too and fought side-by-side with Christians and people of other faiths would be a refreshing and eye-opening perspective.

This book is a WOW book for me because it taught me something new about a group of people that are different from myself. This book has the potential to teach children about a different culture, as well as to represent our Jewish students. It can also teach our students about the value of learning about and accepting people that are different than you. ...more
4

Jul 26, 2010

Protagonists: George Washington and a Polish soldier
Grade Level: 1-4

This is a fictional account of George Washington meeting a Jewish soldier during the Revolutionary War. Washington sees the soldier lighting the first candle on the Menorah. He proceeds to ask him what he is doing. The soldier then explains the story behind Hanukkah and why it is celebrated. As the soldier is telling the story that depict what the soldier says. The watercolor illustrations are a highlight of the book. The Protagonists: George Washington and a Polish soldier
Grade Level: 1-4

This is a fictional account of George Washington meeting a Jewish soldier during the Revolutionary War. Washington sees the soldier lighting the first candle on the Menorah. He proceeds to ask him what he is doing. The soldier then explains the story behind Hanukkah and why it is celebrated. As the soldier is telling the story that depict what the soldier says. The watercolor illustrations are a highlight of the book. The author's note explains that although this book is considered historical fiction, there is a probable chance than an encounter like this did take place. Louisa, Washington's friend's stepdaughter wrote about it in her journal. It could not be confirmed though as Washington did not keep a journal during those years. The most interesting part of the book was the connection between what the Americans during the Revolutionary War were going through and what the Israelites were going through as they fought against the Greek king. Both groups of people were up against difficult odds and won. The parallel worked well in the story.
I think this book does have a place in the elementary classroom, but my guess is there are better books about Hanukkah out there. I don't think I would use this book during a unit on the Revolutionary War (unless I had a high percentage of Jewish students) because it doesn't teach much about the war. However, I have done (as I am sure others have) a "December Holidays" unit, and I think this book would be a nice addition to books about Hanukkah to share with my students. Some good titles to go with it are: Moishe's Miracle: A Hanukkah Story (fiction) and The Christmas Menorahs: How a Town Fought Hate (non-fiction).

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5

Jan 03, 2019

An accounting of what (probably) happened at Valley Forge when Washington encountered a Hebrew soldier celebrating Hanukkah and an explanation of the holiday's meaning. Fact: Washington dined with a Jewish merchant in Easton, PA, who started to explain Hanukkah, when Washington interrupted him and told him this story. This is a Young Adult book (I read anything and everything!) and is a quick read.
4

Dec 07, 2018

I was surprised how much I enjoyed this book. As other reviews state, the author's note explains the distinction between fiction and history, which I find essential. Wonderful book at the intersection of the revolutionary war and Jewish history. It spurred a number of discussion topics with my 5 year old and also introduced the history of Hanukkah. Recommended for 5 year old +
4

Dec 19, 2018

Found this gem of a book in the library for 10cents. Very clear description of Hanukkah and I really liked how it went back and forth between the American Revolution and the Isrealites 2000 years ago. It really makes you think deeper..krb 12/19/18
5

Dec 20, 2018

The account is from a journal from Pennsylvania resident about George Washington's experiences at Valley Forge. I liked the author's adaptation of the event.
4

Sep 20, 2017

Lovely book about how we can all identify with each other's histories and stories.
4

Oct 10, 2013

Hanukkah at Valley Forge was written by Stephanie Krensky and illustrated by Greg Harlin. This historical fiction picturebook is intended to be read by intermediate children. There were no awards issued. I rated this book as a five.

Hanukkah at Valley Forge is about a Polish, Jewish soldier, who came to America for freedom. The soldier is praying in Hebrew on the first night of Hanukkah as General George Washington appears in his cabin. The plot is the Jewish soldier explaining the Jewish Hanukkah at Valley Forge was written by Stephanie Krensky and illustrated by Greg Harlin. This historical fiction picturebook is intended to be read by intermediate children. There were no awards issued. I rated this book as a five.

Hanukkah at Valley Forge is about a Polish, Jewish soldier, who came to America for freedom. The soldier is praying in Hebrew on the first night of Hanukkah as General George Washington appears in his cabin. The plot is the Jewish soldier explaining the Jewish celebration of Hanukkah to General George Washington, a Christian. The setting is a cold, snowy winter’s night at Valley Forge in an Army cabin. The theme is the Jewish holiday, Hanukkah. The language is English in forms of paragraphs, which contains a higher level of vocabulary. This book explains the history of how Hanukkah was started and continues into today’s generation.

As for the picturebook, the illustrations are painted in oils. The colors are painted in blue and mustard yellow to showcase the winter season and Hanukkah history, respectively. The front cover design has the title in large font in the top left-hand corner. The illustration is a Jewish solider lighting a candle as George Washington looks in from the door opening, The back cover design is solid navy blue with a framed picture of US Army troops with an American flag. The endpages are solid rust color. The full title page is a double spread illustration that crosses the gutter. The title page illustration allows the reader to understand the setting. The dedication page also includes an editor’s note for thanking several people for the Jewish history collection. Most illustrations cross the gutter and are placed in a white frame. The story begins with the first sentence in a mustard color fancy font. Then, the remainder font for the soldier and George Washington dialogue is in Times New Roman on a blue background. The Hanukkah discussion is listed in Times New Roman font in black ink on a mustard colored background. The illustrations depicts the old days of log cabin houses, lack of clothes & food, and warmth. Candles are used, since electricity wasn’t invented. The Jewish holiday of Hanukkah illustrations depict Greek and Roman attire with shields and swords along with use of slaves.

Overall, Hanukkah at Valley Forge is a very good story to introduce the Jewish celebration history of Hanukkah to children. Even though the soldier had to escape Poland in order to find freedom in the US, the soldier continues his homeland holidays. This book would make a wonderful addition to a classroom discussion around the Hanukkah celebration. Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, will begin on Thanksgiving Day evening this year. When Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving Day, it is also known as Thanksgivukkah. In fact, Hanukkah has never fallen on Thanksgiving before and probably never will again. For a classroom activity, I would have the children read this book and another picturebook related to Thanksgiving history. The children can make a menorah to include both Thanksgiving and Hanukkah traditions. This activity would allow children to understand that you can combine both holidays in order to not eliminate one.
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4

Dec 17, 2011

Most stories that bring history to life are okay in my book, but this one which blends the American Revolution with a much more ancient rebellion, is excellent. Within, George Washington, while looking out over his suffering troops at Valley Forge, sees a light burning in one shelter and finds a young Jewish soldier celebrating the first day of Hanukkah. The tale is based on the journal entry of a young woman who dined with George Washington a year later. He related such an event during the Most stories that bring history to life are okay in my book, but this one which blends the American Revolution with a much more ancient rebellion, is excellent. Within, George Washington, while looking out over his suffering troops at Valley Forge, sees a light burning in one shelter and finds a young Jewish soldier celebrating the first day of Hanukkah. The tale is based on the journal entry of a young woman who dined with George Washington a year later. He related such an event during the meal.

Hanukkah is celebrated annually by millions of Jews all around the globe. It commemorates the successful Maccabean Rebellion. In the 167 BC, Judea was under Greek rule. The Jewish temple was ransacked, and the emperor forbade the Jews from worshipping according to their custom. A small band of Jewish peasants fought back and drove out the mighty oppressors. Then the temple was purified and rededicated, and the lampstand that was never supposed to go out was relit, though they only had enough oil to last one day. According to tradition, however, the oil lasted eight days, until more was found. Today, the Jewish people commemorate these events by lighting candles each evening of this eight-day holiday, which usually falls in December (this year Dec. 21-28).

In Hanukkah at Valley Forge, Krensky aligns the Jewish and American rebellions. The stories run parallel to each other, one on blue pages, the other on yellow. They are strikingly similar. In the end, George Washington draws a measure of hope from the ancient tale.

This is a fantastic book from several angles. My son and I read it this year in conjunction with a Revolutionary War history unit. It’s also a great way to become familiar with another culture. But my son and I especially liked it because our family studied Hanukkah two years ago and we’ve celebrated it ever since. No, we’re not Jewish, but it’s a fun family holiday, and the Christian faith shares a history with the Jewish people.

Regardless of your religion, this beautifully-illustrated, cleverly-crafted picture book is a worthwhile read. I would recommend a third or fourth grade audience to fully grasp the historical and political comparisons made within.
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3

Apr 08, 2012

I read the historical fiction book called Hanukkah at Valley Forge. The story begins with general George Washington discussing the war and his army of men. Some of the men didn't have weapons to defend themselves, clothes to wear, or enough food to eat. Then the general looks through a window and sees a soldier lighting a candle. The soldier is startled by the general and explains that it is the first night of Hanukkah and that is why he is lighting a candle. George Washington did not understand I read the historical fiction book called Hanukkah at Valley Forge. The story begins with general George Washington discussing the war and his army of men. Some of the men didn't have weapons to defend themselves, clothes to wear, or enough food to eat. Then the general looks through a window and sees a soldier lighting a candle. The soldier is startled by the general and explains that it is the first night of Hanukkah and that is why he is lighting a candle. George Washington did not understand what Hanukkah was so the soldier explains it to him. The soldier explains that in Poland, his homeland, he was not able to practice his religion and beliefs. The soldier goes on to explain that the people of Israel had to follow the Greek idols and their beliefs. The soldier explains a battle that occurred in which Judah and his army won, therefore, the people of Israel were able to practice their religion. They lit the menorah and it lasted eight days without oil. So, the soldier explain that he lit the first candle to celebrate the festival of lights and he will continue lighting the rest of them.
The age range of this story is intermediate because it has a lot of words and some difficult vocabulary. It is a historical story that goes in depth about the history of Jewish people and how they fought for their beliefs. An older child would understand the story better than a younger one.
The illustrations look like they are done with watercolor paints. The illustrations are detailed and convey the emotions of the characters. The facial features on the people are detailed and very real-looking.
I would recommend this book, but I did not love it. It did not really capture my interest. I do like how it alternated between the current time, when the soldier is speaking to George Washington, and the past, when the soldier id describing the battle that the Jewish people were involved in. ...more
5

Jun 25, 2012



Audience: Pre-K - 3rd grade; American history, Jewish beliefs and history, tolerance of other religions.

Appeal: This book is based on actual events that occurred in the life of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. The story begins with George Washington feeling overwhelmed about his troops being ill prepared for the winter with inadequate supplies including the lack of shoes, coats, and food. As he is walking, he passes the tent where a soldier is lighting a single candle

Audience: Pre-K - 3rd grade; American history, Jewish beliefs and history, tolerance of other religions.

Appeal: This book is based on actual events that occurred in the life of George Washington during the American Revolutionary War. The story begins with George Washington feeling overwhelmed about his troops being ill prepared for the winter with inadequate supplies including the lack of shoes, coats, and food. As he is walking, he passes the tent where a soldier is lighting a single candle and softly speaking in Hebrew. He enters the tent, and the Polish soldier is at first alarmed that he has been caught honoring the first night of Hanukkah. As the story unfolds we understand why the soldier was initially frightened, why Hanukkah is celebrated, and, my personal favorite, is we get to see a side of George Washington often left out of history books. This is a great book to teach tolerance of other religions and to show that this has been happening for a long time. A bonus to this book is the ‘Author’s Notes’ that explain where he got the idea for the story and how he went about writing it. An excellent read for any age that shows a side of war usually left out of textbooks and explains how George Washington found the courage to continue with his fight for our freedom – thanks to a single soldier and the story of his faith.

Award: 2007 The Sydney Taylor Book Award
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3

Dec 04, 2011

This was a very interesting book. The story is about how George Washington stopped by a soldier's cabin while making his rounds during a winter battle. He came upon the soldier mumbling a prayer in front of a candle. When Washington asked what he was doing the soldier began his tale about the Jewish faith and the story behind the menorah. I especially liked how the author weaved the tale between the reality of the current situation and that of the Jewish people fighting the Greeks. The pictures This was a very interesting book. The story is about how George Washington stopped by a soldier's cabin while making his rounds during a winter battle. He came upon the soldier mumbling a prayer in front of a candle. When Washington asked what he was doing the soldier began his tale about the Jewish faith and the story behind the menorah. I especially liked how the author weaved the tale between the reality of the current situation and that of the Jewish people fighting the Greeks. The pictures were a watercolor of sorts and quite beautiful. If I were to use this book in a class setting it would most likely be as an introduction on the subject of Hanukkah. It would make a great "teaser" of sorts as far as the history of Hanukkah introduced in an interesting format. ...more
4

Dec 06, 2012

A wonderful read-aloud during the holidays for fourth through sixth graders who are studying American history-- Krensky does a beautiful job tying together the struggles that Washington was facing in December 1777 with the struggles of the Israelites as they faced down their bigger opponent thousands of years ago. Krensky's note at the end also lends itself to a good discussion of history versus historical fiction, since he's clear about the fact that this is a fictionalized account of something A wonderful read-aloud during the holidays for fourth through sixth graders who are studying American history-- Krensky does a beautiful job tying together the struggles that Washington was facing in December 1777 with the struggles of the Israelites as they faced down their bigger opponent thousands of years ago. Krensky's note at the end also lends itself to a good discussion of history versus historical fiction, since he's clear about the fact that this is a fictionalized account of something with a historical kernal. ...more
4

Nov 23, 2009

General Washington walks through his camp a Valley Forge. He sees a light in a tent, and comes across a young Polish soldier, lighting his first Hanukkah candle. Washington, unfamiliar with the holiday, asks the man to explain. The story of the unlikely sucess of the Maccabee's is then paralled with that of the American army at Valley Forge. Blue and Yellow pages seperate the two stories.

I loved this book! It is made even more wonderful because it is true, and they even took the dialogue from General Washington walks through his camp a Valley Forge. He sees a light in a tent, and comes across a young Polish soldier, lighting his first Hanukkah candle. Washington, unfamiliar with the holiday, asks the man to explain. The story of the unlikely sucess of the Maccabee's is then paralled with that of the American army at Valley Forge. Blue and Yellow pages seperate the two stories.

I loved this book! It is made even more wonderful because it is true, and they even took the dialogue from Washington's own known responses. ...more
4

Dec 19, 2009

Fascinating story based on actual evidence that George Washington learned about Hanukkah from a Polish soldier camped with him at Valley Forge. In this account, General Washington takes much hope from the story. Stephen Krensky draws interesting parallels between the fight of the Colonial army and the fight of the Macabees in ancient Israel. Highly recommended
4

Jan 01, 2017

A touching holiday tale of a Soldier explaining that story of the Maccabees to General Washington during a cold Hanukkah night at Valley Forge. A nice story showing Jewish contribution to the American Revolution, a topic hard to come be in children's literature. I do wonder how factual the story is, but it is inspired by true events (see authors note at the back of the book).
5

Feb 08, 2013

This is a wonderful children's book that combines the bitter struggle of Valley Forge with the much earlier struggle of the Maccabees against the Greeks. The paintings are superb and the text, which uses excerpts from Washington's own letters, gives a real feel for who he must have been.
5

Dec 19, 2016

Flyby rec: A heartening tale about how the history of the Maccabees reached into Revolutionary America and inspired a weary war hero to keep fighting for freedom. I especially loved the author's note at the end.
0

Sep 29, 2013

I didn't like the fact that the illustrator drew 20th century style headwear on 18th century people.
4

May 15, 2015

Story of Gen. Washington hearing the story of Hanukkah during the brutal winter at Valley Forge.
0

Aug 02, 2007

Hear an interview about Hanukkah at Valley Forge with author Stephen Krensky and illustrator Greg Harlin on The Book of Life podcast's December 2006 episode at www.jewishbooks.blogspot.com.
4

Jan 06, 2013

A nice book for both history and religion! Lovely graphics, quality text; a good explanation of Hanukkah and every fight for freedom.
5

Dec 12, 2015

Quick read. Shows interaction of cultures and religions during the Revolutionary War.

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