Educational Activities for one Candle by Eve Bunting

One Candle, by Eve Bunting, is a story about how one Jewish family celebrated Hanukkah. Any activities relate to that theme. An obvious activity is to light the menorah every day and talk about its significance. Incorporating it in a social studies lesson about World War II and the Holocaust is another.

As related in the story, Hanukkah has many symbols, which include Jewish foods, like latke cakes, sliced brisket and gravy and applesauce. So, baking or having students bring in their favorite food and telling how that food relates to Hanukkah is a fun, educational activity.

Students could light the menorah, as Jewish people do, light one candle for eight days. They could make and give symbols found in the book either from paper or homemade and give gifts relating to the holiday.

A show and tell time could take place after the reading of the story. Have students share their memories, of Hanukkah or Christmas, in written form or as an oral presentation, as Great Aunt Rose told the family in the story. Some children may have some equally moving memories that teach children persistence and endurance. The story that Great Aunt Rose tells includes many of the elements of good story-telling. Let the students try to emulate those in their stories. As in the story, when the teller relates their story, everyone else should listen quietly.

If possible, plan a visit to a museum, which showcases remnants from the Holocaust, and arrange for a guide to share real life experiences from the time. This can make a fun introduction into a social studies lesson about the awful things that happened to the Jewish people. Have a survivor, or a son or daughter of a survivor share the feelings of a school aged child. Watch or read The Diary of Anne Frank to get more insight into these feelings.

An art activity might include making the Jewish caps for boys and an apron for the girls. The children might make their own menorahs out of paper or clay if they are old enough. Then, they could use paper flames as well to light the menorah.  

One Candle is an appropriate tool for teaching social studies, reading, writing, story-telling, and art. This story has a strong Jewish tone and will help students realize that the Holocaust was a horrible time in the history of European countries. The story also includes the strong family loyalties that Jewish have especially at holiday time.