In this sweet and humorous picture book, Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas, a multi-cultural family (Mom’s Indian; Dad’s Jewish) celebrate Hanukkah while incorporating traditional Indian food. Instead of latkes, this family celebrates Hanukkah with tasty Indian dosas. To her brother’s chagrin, little Sadie won’t stop climbing on everything both at home and at the Indian grocery store, even while preparing the dosas. As the family puts the finishing touches on their holiday preparations, they accidentally get locked out of the house. Sadie and her climbing skills just may be exactly what is needed to save the day.
Having a little sister can be a bit of a pain, especially when she won’t stop climbing all over everything! That’s the challenge facing our protagonist, who wishes his sister Sadie would just settle down and stop getting in the way all the time. He especially doesn’t want Sadie to help make the Hanukkah dosas if she won’t stop climbing – he just knows she’ll ruin everything. But when the family gets locked out of their home, Sadie’s climbing skills might just be the ticket to saving Hanukkah!
The two kid stars of Queen of the Hannukah Dosas embrace both their Indian and Jewish identities, putting their own spin on the traditional Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. While the story does mention aspects of their cultures, and does touch on the history of Hanukkah, the real focus of the story is on the relationship between the two siblings. This is a Hanukkah story in that it takes place at Hanukkah, but really it’s about a big brother who gains a new appreciation for his little sister, and about a little sister whose previously frustrating tendency ends up saving the day!
The way in which the story handles the characters’ bi-cultural family is wonderfully understated. The narrator mentions making dosas with his Mom and his Amma-Amma (his Indian grandma), talks about attending Hebrew school and visiting Little India, and refers to the Maccabees of Jewish history. But it’s all mentioned so naturally, almost casually, as if being a part of two different cultures is really not a big deal at all, which is wonderfully reassuring for children growing up in families that meld and combine different faiths or traditions. Doing things a little differently, like making dosas for Hanukkah, just makes life more interesting and delicious!
Queen of the Hanukkah Dosas is a sweet story of sibling love that reflects our beautifully complex multicultural world.
Queen of Hanukkah Dosas
Hardcover, 40 pages
October 10, 2017 : Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Source: Raincoast Books