Papa's Latkes
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Papa's Latkes

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  34 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A family prepares to celebrate Chanukah for the first time since Mama died — in this heartfelt, bittersweet tale that will resonate with anyone who has ever faced an empty chair at the holiday table.

Three plates, Selma reminded herself. Just three plates this Chanukah.

For Selma and her little sister, Dora, this is their first Chanukah without Mama. When Papa comes home car...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 23rd 2004 by Candlewick Press (first published 2004)
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Lisa Vegan
Dec 11, 2008 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: children who have lost a parent, especially at any first holiday without them
Recommended to Lisa by: Abigail A.
I am so glad that this book is available for children, particularly for children who have had a parent die within the year. My mother died when I was older than these girls but books such as this would have been very helpful.

This is the story of 2 sisters (whose mother has died since Chanukah the previous year) and their father at Chanukah time when one of the traditions is to make latkes (potato pancakes.) The account is both honest and hopeful, and shows great warmth and humor within the famil...more
Jeanne O'Hara
Genre: fiction, picture book

Papa's Latkes is the story of a family's first Channukah without their mother. Papa brings home the ingredients for latkes, a type of potato pancake eaten at Channukah. At first, Selma and Dora don't think they can make the latkes, because their mother always made them. But they are able to remember what they did to help their mother, and recreate her recipe. Their father cooks the latkes, and that's where they are different from their mother's. Selma cannot bring her...more
Papa’s Latkes
4 out of 5 Stars

Schuett uses colorful paintings in her illustrations of the book. These are not detail-oriented illustrations; the characters are soft, rounded, and take on an almost abstract feel. In fact, the background of one page is a swirl of blues and is reminiscent of Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. The coloring Schuett used added great depth to the book; a wide range of colors are shown, mixed together, and piled on top of each other. Upon further examination, the illust...more
Nicholas Humilier
Grade/interest level: K-3
Lexile: 580L
Reading level: 4.2
Genre: Picture Book

Main Characters: Selma, Dora, Papa
Setting: Their home
POV: Third Person

In this story, the author introduces us a father and his two daughters getting ready to celebrate Chanukah. This Chanukah is particularly meaningful for them, as it is the first without their recently deceased mother. The father brings home a bag of potatoes and announcing that they will be making Latkes, as the mother had done in years passed. They team...more
Elizabeth Roe
Grade/interest level: Upper Elementary (3rd-5th)
Reading level: Lexile, 580L
Genre: Picture Book, Multicultural

Main Characters: Selma, Dora, and Papa
Setting: The family home
POV: Third person

This book is about a Jewish family celebrating their first Chanukah after their mother’s passing. The book follows the traditions that the family has always upheld and the different responsibilities each family member takes on in place of their mother. The story focuses in on making latkes, something that had...more
Sophia Kanoon
Grade/interest level: Primary/Learn to read (kindergarten -2nd grade)
Reading level: Guided Reading Level O
Genre: Multicultural Literature

Main Characters: Papa, Selma, and Dora
Setting: At the Home of Selma and Dora , in a largely Jewish neighborhood
POV: Through Selma’s viewpoint

Summary: Papa’s Latkes by Michelle Edwards, illustrated by Stacey Schuett is a heartbreaking story of a family overcoming loss during the holidays. It is Selma and Dora’s first Chanukah after the loss of their mother. T...more
Edwards, Michelle (2003).
Subgroup: Bereavement
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Topics: Bereavement, Religious Traditions, Chanukah
Synopsis: This book is a very sweet way for children to understand how a family deals with the lose. Dora, Selma, and their father are celebrating their first Chanukah without their mother. Their mother used to make the best Latkes for Chanukah dinner, but this year their Papa is making them. The family works together to make the night special even without mama there. They do...more
Maricela Rivera
This story depicts a Jewish holiday and some of its traditions in ways that other students can understand. The tone of this story was alive but with some sadness embedded within the context. The detailed illustrations present the different emotions the young girls are going through during this special holiday without their mother. The Jewish culture is present throughout this book with the lighting of the menorah, cooking of the latkes, and the Jewish symbols that can be seen on the tablecloth....more
Kia M.
This would be a great book to use when teaching your students about different family traditions, and holidays that are celebrated at the end of the year. It could also help students who have suffered the loss of family members by letting them know they can still be happy, and their family traditions can still live on eventhough that person might not be there in the physical. Great illustrations also.
Gail Barge
This is quite a sad book but holds a lot of information about the traditions of Chanukah. This would be a good book to discuss traditional holidays during December. It would be fun to actually make latkes with a class (kids always love food!). I would use this to talk about religious traditions, families, and possibly even the lose off a loved on and when families can especially miss that person.
I read this book aloud to my fourth graders (most are Jewish kids) and we totally enjoyed it. There was quite a bit of humor, the difficulty of "creating" latkes was well depicted as was the love of the dad for his girls. Best of all, for me, was that the kids really marveled over the beautiful oil painted illustrations. We decided this was a top-notch book.
This storybook addresses serious life issues, so I would suggest it is more for junior readers than the very young.

Beautifully written and illustrated; it is a healing moment for those affected by loss of their mother.
Tuyet Tran
This book was really sad. The girls spent Chanukah without their mama. It gave me more meaning to spend time with my family during the Holidays.
Codie Gates
A sweet story about Chanukah and lumpy latkes. Touching story.
Tracy Peirano
Tracy Peirano marked it as to-read
May 06, 2014
Guen marked it as to-read
Apr 07, 2014
Destiny Dawn Long
Destiny Dawn Long marked it as to-read
Dec 13, 2013
Annika added it
Sep 27, 2013
Jenny marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2013
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