Jodie's Hanukkah Dig

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten - Grade 3
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

When Jodie begs her dad to take her on an archaeological dig, he agrees to take her to Modi’in, the ancient home of the Maccabees. And when she volunteers to explore an underground cave, she learns that she and the Maccabees, the heroes of the Hanukkah story, have something in common.

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Interest Level Kindergarten - Grade 3
Reading Level Grade 2
Genre Picture Books
Copyright 2008
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Kar-Ben Publishing ®
Language English
Number of Pages 32
Publication Date 2014-01-01
Text Type Fiction
BISACS JUV017110, JUV033020
Dewey [E]
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 10 x 8.25
ATOS Reading Level 3.5
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 126777
Accelerated Reader® Points 0.5
Features Awards, Original artwork, and Reviewed

Author: Anna Levine

Anna Levine is the author of several picture books and two young adult novels, all of which take place in Israel. She lives in Mevesseret Zion, just outside of Jerusalem.

Illustrator: Ksenia Topaz


  • Sydney Taylor Book Award Notable, Commended, 2008



“A wonderful combination of great story and unique perspective, this tale of young Jodie’s visit with her father to an archaeological dig in Modi’in, where Judah Maccabee fought the Syrians, helps children place the Chanukah story in context by linking the historical with the modern.”—Noodlenuts


“Levine, author of the middle-grade novel Running on Eggs (1999), writes knowledgeably about the details of archaeological work, including the thrill of discovery, the backbreaking work of digging in the hot sun, and its importance to the historical record. Topaz’s impressionistic artwork will give readers a good sense of the Israeli countryside and the activities at a dig.”

Kirkus Reviews

“Topaz’s watercolors delineate a freckle-faced little girl whose agility and curiosity parallel the Maccabeean stamina in the struggle. . . Levine provides an intriguing alternative to conventional retellings of the Hanukkah tale, juxtaposing archeology’s importance against the tiny size of the small but steadfast drummer boy.”
Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal

An Israeli girl wants to become an archaeologist like her father and has the opportunity to assist at a dig where Judah Maccabee fought against the Syrians. Braving darkness, spiders, and her own fear, Jodie volunteers to be lowered into a small underground cave where she discovers a literal piece of the past. However, aside from a brief reference to the brave leader featured in the Hanukkah story, there is nothing in this book to suggest that it belongs on the holiday shelf. It presupposes knowledge of Israel’s archaeological significance and the origins of Hanukkah by focusing solely on the facts of the dig. Watercolor illustrations give a good sense of the Israeli land-scape both above and below ground. A reasonable choice for career day, but not for general holiday collections.