Have you ever met anyone with autism? Think not? Well chances are you have because one in eighty eight children is affected by this “bio-neurological developmental disability” according to the National Autism Association.
Nathan Blows Out the Hanukkah Candles by Tami Lehman-Wilzig with Nicole Katzman and illustrated by Jeremy Tugeau is a story about Nathan, an autistic boy, and his younger brother Jacob. Jacob worries that his older brother (Nathan) might embarrass him during Hanukkah because he never knows what Nathan will do next.
On the first night of Hanukkah Jacob’s new friend Steven comes over. After the candles are light and blessings said Nathan does the unimaginable, he blows out the Hanukkah candles. Jacob is in fact very embarrassed and days later Steven makes fun of Nathan. Although Jacob seems not to really understand the way Nathan acts, he stands up for his brother, which may be another Hanukkah miracle in this enduring story that combines what it might feel like to be a younger brother of an autistic sibling over the holiday of Hanukkah.
Longtime PunkTorah community member Tamara Levine works in a children’s library and is an amateur artist. She can be found at www.oneshul.org where she attends live, online classes.