One Candle

by Eve Bunting

Paperback, 2002



Local notes

E Bun


HarperCollins (2002), Edition: Reprint, 40 pages. $6.99.


Every year a family celebrates Hanukkah by retelling the story of how Grandma and her sister managed to mark the day while in a German concentration camp.


Original language


Physical description

40 p.; 10.5 inches


0060085606 / 9780060085605



User reviews

LibraryThing member foster7
One Candle, written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by Wendy Popp, tells the story of a family celebrating Hanukkah together. Over dinner, the grandmother and great-aunt retell the story of their imprisonment in Buchenwald, a German concentration camp. While imprisoned, they were assigned to cook for the officers in the camp, and during Hanukkah, they smuggled a potato from the kitchen, and used it to create a candle in their barracks. As they tell this story, they recreate this potato-candle tradition in the present. While listening to the story, the young granddaughter, surrounded by plenty of food at the dinner table, states that she "can't imagine going hungry." She doesn't know exactly why they recreate the potato-candle each year, but thinks that "it has to do with being strong in the bad time and remembering it in the good time." The grandmother shares her memories with vivid details, such as the fact that "we kept the dates on a hidden piece of paper." Other details can be found in the illustrations, showing the memories of Nazi soldiers with guns, guard dogs, and a swastika flag, along with the present-day details, including a menorah, dreidels, yarmulkes, and challah. The entire books' illustrations are in very muted colors, but the pages differentiate between memories of days in the camp, and the present-day Hanukkah dinner. The family dinner was created with shades of dark blue, dark red, brown, and cream. These images are juxtaposed with illustrations of the camp memories in shades of cream and a faded rust. In one particularly memorable illustration, readers see (on the left) the extended family seated at the table, with food galore. And on the right page, we see the seven young girls (the grandmother, great-aunt, and five others that lived in the barracks) looking in their direction, almost as if they are in the same room, wishing they could share in the feast. The books' themes of family, tradition, survival, and celebration are clearly felt by the reader. This story concludes with the family outside, looking in towards the flicker of the candle, toasting, "L'chayim!"… (more)
LibraryThing member STBA
Every year a family celebrates Hanukkah by retelling the story of how Grandma and her sister managed to mark the day while in a German concentration camp.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
An extended family celebrates Hanukkah, while also recalling the horrors of the Holocaust, in this gentle, contemplative picture-book from the prolific Eve Bunting. Every year, the young narrator's Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose perform the same ritual at the close of Hanukkah dinner: carving out the inside of a potato, filling it with oil, and creating a homemade candle, they tell the story of their experiences in a concentration camp, and the time they created just such a candle, smuggling a tiny potato out of the kitchen in which they were forced to work, and lighting a single light, back in their barracks, to mark the "Festival of Lights."

I feel like this book did everything "right." The story was poignant, without being overdone, emphasizing the importance of remembering the past, especially at the holidays. The illustrations by K. Wendy Popp were somber and moving, with a photographic quality that was quite intense at times. But somehow, although I acknowledge the virtues of the book, and was moved by it, I simply didn't feel as much of an emotional connection as I'd expected. Perhaps I read it at the wrong time? In any case, One Candle is still a book I'd recommend to those looking to explore, with children, the "presence of the past" in a family's life, particularly at the holidays.
… (more)
LibraryThing member Mdierd1
One Candle
By Eve Bunting (2004)

I liked One Candle by Eve Bunting for three reasons. First, I liked how the story illustrates Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose telling their story. Specifically, they tell a story about their time during the Holocaust, and the strength it took to continue to honor Hanukkah. It is neat how the illustrations depict Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose in the past and in the present. Second, I liked how Bunting incorporated many family generations in the story. This indicates that family, being together, is a necessity when celebrating Hanukkah. Lastly, I like how this book could be used to introduce young children to the Holocaust and Hanukkah. Overall, the “big idea” of One Candle is to emphasize the values of tradition and family and to introduce the theme of hope.… (more)
LibraryThing member hphipp2
This is a book about a family celebrating Hanukkah together. There's food and traditions and togetherness. In the middle of the book, after they eat dinner, Grandma starts to hollow out a potato while she tells the family "about the bad times." They "know this story by heart, but...want to hear it again. To us, this story is Hanukkah." Grandma tells about how her family was sent to a German concentration camp during the Holocaust. She talks about what she and her sister went through at the camp. Grandma tells the family that she worked in the kitchen. She and her sister snuck small food items out of the kitchen on Hanukkah. She and some other girls and women hollowed out a potato after she returned unnoticed and safe to the barracks. They filled the potato with some butter from the kitchen and a string from a skirt and they make a Hanukkah candle. And now, every year with her family on Hanukkah, she makes that same candle and places it next to the menorah.… (more)
LibraryThing member Ebutzn1
I really liked the story “One Candle” by Eve Bunting. This inspiring, yet saddening story is how one family’s traditional Hanukkah celebration has a greater meaning. I liked how the point of view was from the young girl listening to her grandmother and great aunt tell their hardships. Being in the girl’s point of view allows young readers to understand history in a more basic way. This book pushes readers to think about tough times and be thankful for what they have. As the young girl narrates, “I am full from Mom’s delicious cooking. And there are still leftovers. I can’t imagine going hungry.” Thus, having to steal food, like her grandmother and great aunt, is unimaginable. I think the main message of this story is to be appreciative and thankful for what you have, comparing it to the difficult time during the Holocaust.… (more)




(24 ratings; 4.4)
Page: 0.2594 seconds