Letter on the Wind
A Chanukah Tale
Publication Date: September 2007
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A retelling of a Jewish folkale reminds readers of the first Chanukah and of Mattathias's bravery in protecting his faith. Once in a far-off village there nearly was a year without Chanukah. The withering olive trees produced to olives for oil, and without oil there would be no lights for the menorahs. Hayim, the poorest man in the village, said to himself, "We cannot have a year without Chanukah. I will ask the Almighty for help." Despite mockery and laughter from the villagers, Hayim asks the local scribe to write a letter to the Almighty. In it, Hayim prays for oil to light the town's menorahs. The poor man takes his letter to the highest hill and sends it off on the strongest breeze. Hayim's prayers are answered, and the villagers can celebrate Chanukah--but many in the town are convinced that Hayim is a thief. Neil Waldman's lyrical illustrations complement Sarah Marwil Lamstein's elegant text in this Sydney Taylor Honor Book.